CHICAGO (CBS) — Doctors at Children’s Memorial Hospital and Chicago Public Schools officials said they support Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push for legislation to use red light cameras to catch speeders near schools and parks.
“We routinely see hundreds of kids a year hit by cars,” said Dr. Sally Reynolds, director of the emergency department at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, approximately 84 percent of all pedestrian accidents in Chicago happen within a quarter mile of parks and schools.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore Reports
Reynolds recalled the story of a 2-year-old girl, who was hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk near Lincoln Park Zoo as she held her mother’s hand.
“You couldn’t really make a person any safer than that little girl was being at that time and I remember her to this day,” Reynolds said.
The girl died.
Emanuel is asking state lawmakers to pass legislation to allow the city to use its red light cameras within a quarter mile of parks and schools to ticket speeders.
The word parks is broad, covering everything from basketball courts to large grassy areas like Grant Park.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said he supports the proposal.
“You know, when you look at the statistics and you know what it does for the kids, if this saves one life – one life, one family’s pain – it’s worth it,” Brizard said.
Although the fine for speeding does go up in a school zone, Brizard said this is not the city’s way of beefing up the budget.
“Simply, need to feel safe; not just in school, but to and from school,” Brizard said.
The state Senate might take up the issue this week when it returns to Springfield for the fall veto session.