No more red-light cameras on Route 83 in Oakbrook Terrace, judge rules

A DuPage County judge has ruled the state has the right to revoke the permits for red-light enforcement cameras at Route 83 and 22nd Street in Oakbrook Terrace.

Oakbrook Terrace can’t have its red-light cameras at Route 83 and 22nd Street anymore, a DuPage County judge has ruled.

The city is appealing the ruling.

Judge Craig Belford ruled May 26 that the Illinois Department of Transportation has the right to revoke the permit it gave for the cameras in 2017. They are on the Oakbrook Terrace side of the busy intersection, across from Oakbrook Center mall.

Belford wrote IDOT had the right to issue the permit with contingencies and – if those contingencies are not met – to revoke it. One of those contingencies was the city had to compile reports about the camera system one year after the cameras were installed and then three years after that. The one-year report was written two years late, and the city has not made the second report, Belford wrote. That second analysis was due in July 2021.

The city contends it did the report and published it in June 2022.

The red-light cameras document vehicles that disobey red traffic lights. Images of the vehicles’ license plates are recorded and $100 tickets are issued.

The city reports 236,177 tickets were issued between Aug. 21, 2017 – when the cameras were turned on – and May 3, 2022. Of those, 2,945 were dismissed.

Oakbrook Terrace argued IDOT could only regulate how the cameras were installed because the poles on which they sit are on the states’ rights of way. It also argued it could not write the reports because it needed data from IDOT, but IDOT had not compiled 2021 crash data, even by May 2022.

Neighboring Oak Brook had protested the cameras, contending they targeted people shopping at the mall. They also contended the cameras caused an increase in crashes, rising from 23 in 2015 to 49 in 2019. Oak Brook sued Oakbrook Terrace but then dropped the suit.

Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci pleaded guilty in 2022 to taking at least $88,500 to ensure the city renewed its contract with SafeSpeed LLC, the camera company. The payments came from someone with a financial interest in the company and from employees of a contractor SafeSpeed used. The company denies knowing about the payments and has said the money did not come from it.

A 2018 report about the city’s finances showed it collected $5.4 million in fines, netting $3.2 million after expenses.

On Monday, Belford denied a request from Oakbrook Terrace to stay the enforcement of his order while it appeals the case.