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Richmond board votes out of red-light camera contract

RICHMOND – Red-light cameras won’t be coming to Richmond after all.

The village board voted, 4-2, on Thursday night to cancel its contract with RedSpeed Illinois, a traffic camera company that was supposed to install at least one camera at the intersection of routes 12 and 31.

Only two trustees, Dennis Bardy and Peter Koenig, voted to keep the contract. Trustees David Kielpinski, Charlotte Hollenbach, Karla Thomas and Jeanne Doyle voted to opt out.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Doyle, who has been a vocal opponent of the cameras since the village first considered them last year.

The meeting was attended by about 10 area residents and business owners, many of whom opposed the cameras.

“I think it’s bad for business,” said Rob Cetner, who owns Wool, Warp and Wheel in Richmond. “As a resident, I really, really do not appreciate the long arm of government as it is growing.”

Sheila Connors, who lives in unincorporated Richmond, said her opposition to the cameras was so strong that she would avoid the town if the board went ahead with the contract.

“This camera goes in, my shopping goes elsewhere,” Connors said. “I can get around town and I will, I promise.”

Several residents commented that the village only sought to install the cameras to generate revenue. Had the cameras been installed, violations would result in a $100 fine. RedSpeed Illinois would keep a portion of the ticket and the rest would be paid to the village.

However, others said that if village officials were concerned about safety, they would consider alternatives to the cameras first.

Leif Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Candy Shop in Richmond, suggested the village instead consider increasing the duration of the yellow light.

Another resident, Adrienne Metz, suggested a “No Turn on Red” sign be installed at the intersection.

Trustee Karla Thomas commented that the village asked the Illinois Department of Transportation to install a sign at the intersection about 15 years ago but was unsuccessful.

Village President Lauri Olson said it was worth trying again. “Maybe IDOT in the last 15 years has changed their mind,” Olson said.

Red-light cameras have come under particular scrutiny by Illinois leaders in recent months.

Numerous bills have been proposed in the state legislature aimed at narrowing the scope of violations that red-light cameras can penalize.

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, proposed a bill that would eliminate fines for legal right-on-red turns. Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, sponsored a bill that would eliminate the use of red-light cameras except in construction zones and at railroad crossings.

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