The camera, which will be the village's second, will monitor vehicles driving south on Harlem, according to Assistant Village Administrator Michael Braiman.
The village installed the camera in January, but then discovered getting an Internet connection to it would require passing under a Cook County Forest Preserve right-of-way, Braiman said. The village is in the process of securing permission to do so and has no projected timeline for activating the camera.
"We're in the process of working with the Village of River Forest on an intergovernmental agreement related to this access," Cook County Forest Preserve District Communications Director Karen Vaughan said via email. "We haven't had an agreement like this before, so there's not a template yet, but everything is moving forward."
If permission is granted, the camera will join one at Harlem and North Avenue. That camera has been ticketing eastbound drivers who run red lights or turn right without stopping since early this year, River Forest Police Chief Gregory Weiss said. Since February, the department has verified about 8,400 violations at the intersection for a total of about $70,000 in fines, Weiss said.
The village contracted with Chicago-based company SafeSpeed LLC in late 2011 to install and operate the cameras. Officials approved the technology after police noticed a high number of accidents at the two Harlem intersections. Harlem and North was particularly bad, with 37 accidents recorded there in 2012, Weiss said. The department has recorded no recent fatalities there.
So far this year, four eastbound drivers have been involved in accidents at the intersection, Weiss said. He did not have a total number of accidents for the intersection.
If a vehicle crosses the first white line at a monitored intersection while the light is red, SafeSpeed sends footage of the incident to Weiss's department where officers have been trained to review it for potential infractions.
"We're looking at more of the egregious ones," Weiss said.
Some drivers don't even hesitate at a red light, he said, and others will approach the light at speeds of around 30 mph and when the light changes, will tap their brakes, look both ways and then proceed through the light, Weiss said. Those drivers are ticketed.
The department has so far approved about 37 percent of the potential infractions it has reviewed, he said. Officers often decide against ticketing a driver whose vehicle enters an empty pedestrian walkway but not the intersection, he said. Also, drivers who don't fully stop but maintain nearly imperceptible motion at a stop light are often spared.
Violations recorded by the cameras do not go on a driver's record, whereas the same violation ticketed by a police officer would, Weiss said. The tickets are considered administrative violations, similar to parking tickets.
Weiss said he himself has been ticketed by an automated program like the one in River Forest. He was turning left on a green in an unfamiliar area and did not see a sign prohibiting left turns without an arrow.
"I can understand people don't like getting them – I didn't like getting one," he said.
But he said he is encouraged by the comparatively low number of incidents at the intersection.