City Yellow Lights Too Short, Judge Says Before Tossing Red Light Tickets

Some of Chicago’s yellow lights are too short, according to an administrative law judge who said he’s thrown out “60 to 70 percent” of red light camera tickets he’s come across recently More »

Trib Says Mayor Got $10,000 In Donations Linked To Red Light Camera Bidder

The Chicago Tribune is alleging the wives of two executives for a company vying for the city’s red light camera program donated $5000 each to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political campaign. According to More »

Writer Predicts No Other Cities Will Ever Privatize Their Parking Meters

NBC Chicago writer Edward McClelland last week boldly predicted that due to Chicago’s horrible experience with it’s infamous and hated parking meter lease deal, no city will ever privatize their parking meters More »

 

Red Light Doctor Gets 3 More RLC Tickets Dismissed

PrintThere was no army of city attorneys to greet Barnet Fagel Tuesday morning when he went to fight three red light camera tickets this morning.

Fagel, a forensic video expert who helps drivers fight their red light camera and speed camera tickets came up against four lawyers from the city’s Law Department last week and was able to defeat two RLC tickets, but lost three speed camera tickets.

During the hearings Administrative Law Judge Robert Sussman told the city attorneys in the small hearing room that he’s dismissing many of the red light camera tickets he’s seeing.

“We’re having a big problem with these yellow lights,” Sussman said. “Sixty to 70 percent are coming up under three seconds.”

Today, Fagel was victorious again by demonstrating that the city’s own red light camera violation notices exhibit a yellow light time of 2.9 seconds–a tenth of a second under the federal, state, and city minimum for amber times.

According to Fagel the Administrative Law Judge immediately saw the problem and said “the city has failed to make it’s prima facie case,” and dismissed all three in a matter of minutes.

Tribune Poll Finds 2 Of 3 Chicagoans Hate Red Light Cameras

Photo enforced signChicagoans do not like red light cameras.

That’s one of the key findings of a Chicago Tribune poll which found that two out of three people or 66% of those polled think red light cameras are a bad idea and 92% believe something must be done to change or eliminate the program.

The Trib poll was conducted after the newspaper published a story that revealed several dozen RLC intersections showed mysterious and dramatic spikes in ticketing jumping from a handful of tickets a day to literally hundreds. In all cases the enforcement spikes disappeared after days or weeks just as mysteriously as they began. Perhaps the most eyebrow raising part is the Department of Transportation was not aware of the issue nor had an explanation.

While nearly everyone (92%) believes the program needs to be changed, only 45% of those polled thinks the program should be eliminated while another 47% thinks the program needs better management and oversight.

Unauthorized Street Signs Pop-Up On Milwaukee Avenue

Pranksters erect fake, unauthorized street sign in Wicker Park. Photo credit: Reddit/Imgur

Pranksters erect fake, unauthorized street sign in Wicker Park. Photo credit: Reddit/Imgur

Some practical jokers seem to be having a laugh while poking phone of driving culture in the Wicker Park neighborhood according to RedEye.

Tuesday last week, workers for the Department of Streets and Sanitation pulled down three unauthorized signs along Milwaukee Avenue.

According to one account, the signs must have been erected in the early hours of Tuesday, August 12th by two young men on a ladder wearing T-shirts with the words “Reconstruction” on the back. The original photo was posted on Reddit.

Fatal Crash Near School Has Residents Asking For Speed Camera

A memorial for Jose Medina sits in front of Goethe Elementary School. Photo credit: Darryl Holiday/DNA Info.

A memorial for Jose Medina sits in front of Goethe Elementary School. Photo credit: Darryl Holiday/DNA Info.

61-year old Jose Medina was killed by a motorist near Goethe Elementary school in May.

Now residents working with Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) are using this incident to bring a speed camera to the side street adjacent to the school according to DNA Info.

The 20 people who met with a representative of the Chicago Department of Transportation discussed a battery of solutions including traffic bump outs, speed bumps and a speed camera on Rockwell the street where parents drop off and pickup their children each day.

Anti-Cam Protest Planned For Belmont & Lake Shore Drive

Jeff Black (foreground) and Scott Davis (background) pass out fliers attacking Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) for supporting speed cameras at a protest earlier in the summer.

Jeff Black (foreground) and Scott Davis (background) pass out fliers attacking Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) for supporting speed cameras.

The red light camera an Belmont and Lake Shore Drive is one of the city’s highest volume RLC intersections.

A combination of poor traffic engineering, a confusing multi-street intersection and an allegedly short yellow light, the red light camera there caught over 18,000 violators in 2012 and generated more than $1.5 million in revenue.

So the members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras thought this was a perfect place to hold a protest to bring their message of ridding the city of red light and speed cameras to motorists Saturday, August 16th.

Demonstrators will be there passing out fliers and holding up signs from 11 AM to 2 PM. Other interested motorists are invited to attend.

A Bike Riding Writer Explores The Politics Of Potholes

CDOT crews fill potholes on the North Side in 2013.

CDOT crews fill potholes on the North Side in 2013.

Is there a relationship between politics and potholes?

Chicago Reader columnist Ben Jorvasky wanted to find out.

Jorvasky, an avid bike rider, took a long ride into several areas of the city to see if his theory that aldermanic allies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel had less potholes on roads in their wards than aldermen who aren’t as cooperative with the powers that be.

Riding through mayoral critic Ald. Scott Waguespack’s 32nd Ward and into Ameya Pawar’s 47th and ending up in Joe Moore’s 49th, both loyalists to the Emanuel regime, he doesn’t seem to see a distinction to the state of streets in the city–they all suck writes Jorvasky.

Two More Indicted By Feds In Redflex Bribery Scandal

A red light cameras stands watch at Damen & Division in Wicker ParkAnother shoe has dropped in the Redflex Traffic Systems bribery scandal with the indictment of the former company CEO and the person alleged to be the bag man for the scheme.

The 23-count indictment alleges Karen Finley provided John Bills, the retired official in charge of the city’s red light camera program, with bribes to help the company secure the city’s contract. Finley was charged with nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of federal program bribery, and one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Finley was the company’s CEO from 2005-2011 and was Vice-President at the time the alleged bribery scheme was hatched.

Bills, who was indicted in May, is alleged to have received nearly $600,000 in cash and other gifts for his assistance. The company raked in over $124 million in revenue from their Chicago contract over the past 11 years.

State Street Bridge Closed 10 Days For Riverwalk Construction

Graphic courtesy of CDOT.

Graphic courtesy of CDOT.

Starting Wednesday, the State Street Bridge will be closed to all traffic for 10 days to allow for construction work according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The bridge will be placed in the up position to allow for work connected to the Riverwalk construction project until August 23rd.

A pedestrian path is being constructed on the south bank of the of the Chicago River from State Street to Lake Street to link to the current Riverwalk which extends all the way to Lake Shore Drive.

All bus, bike, pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic is being detoured during the week and a half of work.

City Yellow Lights Too Short, Judge Says Before Tossing Red Light Tickets

PrintSome of Chicago’s yellow lights are too short, according to an administrative law judge who said he’s thrown out “60 to 70 percent” of red light camera tickets he’s come across recently because of the discrepancy.

The city uses the state and federal standard of having yellow lights display for a minimum of three seconds at intersections. But an administrative law judge, who hears appeals from motorists ticketed by red light cameras, said during a hearing this week that he has seen evidence that yellow times are slightly beneath that at some Chicago intersections with red light cameras.

The hearing at 400 W. Superior lasted three hours Monday, after the city sent three lawyers and several department supervisors to defend five tickets being challenged by Barnet Fagel, a video forensic specialist who helps drivers fight red light and speed camera tickets.

Three attorneys, a law department supervisor, a public information officer and a Chicago Department of Transportation deputy director overseeing the city’s traffic camera programs showed up to what normally would be a brief, attorney-free affair. Typically, drivers try to persuade administrative law judges that their ticket should be thrown out by presenting photos and other evidence.

But Monday, city attorneys Alexis Long and Tom Doran spent the first 30 minutes of the hearing challenging Fagel’s expertise and his ability to testify in these matters on behalf of the motorists who were ticketed.

Read more at DNA Info.

“Sign & Drive” Bill Becomes Law With Governor’s Signature

Driver's  licenseMotorists ticketed by police officers for minor traffic citations can say goodbye to having to give up their driver’s license as bond with a new law signed by Governor Pat Quinn Sunday.

Called the “Sign and Drive” law, it ends the long practice of drivers having to post their license as insurance they show up in traffic court or pay the fine for a traffic ticket by allowing them to simply sign their signature on the citation.

“A driver’s license is an important form of identification, and without it many residents may run into problems during everyday situations when a valid ID is required,” Quinn said. “This common sense legislation will allow law enforcement officials to continue doing their jobs while letting motorists hang onto a vital piece of identification. ‘Sign and Drive’ will help ensure motorists comply with the law and keep traffic moving on our streets.”