Joliet moves toward installing truck enforcement cameras

City Council OKs warehouse project with truck turnaround area added

A truck drives along West Laraway Road at the intersection of Rowell Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 in Joliet.

Joliet plans to install enforcement cameras to deal with one neighborhood’s trucking problem and may consider using them elsewhere.

The cameras are part of a solution devised after residents along Rowell Avenue objected to two proposed warehouses at the corner of Laraway Road..

The City Council approved the project at a special meeting Wednesday but with the addition of a turnaround area created to keep trucks from heading north from the warehouses into a residential area of Rowell that includes houses and Laraway School.

“We’re doing the best we can to stop the trucks from going on the roads where they don’t belong,” Mayor Terry D’Arcy said.

The 9-0 vote of approval came little more than a week after the council tabled a vote on the project until developer Cabot Properties and city staff could work out a design to add the turnaround to the project.

The council held back on approval after hearing from Rowell residents and the superintendent of Laraway School about concerns that the development would send trucks up Rowell into the area where they are not allowed but go anyway.

D’Arcy added that “something good came out of all of this” and said the police department is exploring enforcement cameras that would be installed at the site to deter trucks from heading north on Rowell.

Council member Larry Hug suggested cameras could be used elsewhere in the city.

“This is probably the first place that we use it,” Hug said. “But when we get it set up, we want people to know that Joliet is not fooling around.”

Police Chief William Evans said he is still exploring what camera system to acquire. But he said such systems have been used effectively by the Illinois Department of Transportation and by Baltimore County in Maryland to enforce truck traffic regulations.

Evans said he will meet with one potential camera vendor in the next two weeks but could not say yet when they would be installed.

“Right now, we’re just in the infancy stage of looking into it,” Evans said.

Signs will be posted to give truckers “ample warning and advanced warning” to use the turnaround rather than proceeding north on Rowell, interim City Manager Rod Tonelli said. The turnaround, he said, “provides that last point of decision for trucks to get going in the right direction.”

The 39-acre development includes truck access to Rowell that the city approved in 2004. Cabot representatives said the Rowell access is necessary for the project but had agreed to work with the city on a solution to keep trucks from heading north.

“We hope that this makes everybody happy,” Cabot Vice President of Development and Construction Dan Uebelhor said Wednesday, adding that construction on the site could begin as soon as next month.

Jay Gregory, one of the more outspoken residents against the project, called the turnaround plan “the best compromise.”