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

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Anti-Camera Protest Returns To Near West Side Saturday

Scott Davis hands out anti-red light camera fliers to interested drivers at a recent protest.

Scott Davis hands out anti-red light camera fliers to interested drivers at a protest over the summer.

Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, the local organization opposed to both red light and speed camera enforcement, is making a return trip to the 27th ward this Saturday.

The group has spent the past year protesting at traffic camera sites located in the wards of city council members who voted for the city’s speed camera program.

The group’s first protest this year was in Alderman Walter Burnett’s 27th ward. Burnett was a supporter of speed cameras.

But with the announcement that Burnett, Chairman of the Committee for Pedestrian and Traffic Safety will hold hearings about the problems with Chicago’s red light camera program, the group felt it appropriate to return.

IDOT Warns Of Weekend Roadwork On Chicago Area Expressways

Signs along Chicagoland expressways will  not go up to 65 or 70 mph despite Sen. Oberweis' efforts to clarify a new law he sponsored.

Traffic backs up along the inbound Kennedy Expressway.

A trio of maintenance projects will offer short term traffic challenges for motorists this weekend on Chicago expressways.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is conducting two bridge inspections Saturday and Sunday morning.

Red Light Camera Hearing by Council Committee Set For Tuesday

A Xerox contractor installs a new red light camera at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road.

A Xerox contractor installs a new red light camera at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road.

After months of scandal, controversy and questions about Chicago’s red light camera program’s integrity the City Council will hold a hearing on Chicago’s red light camera program next week.

Alderman Walter Burnett (27th), Chairman of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, says he invited Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to present his office’s recent findings and recommendations at a hearing Tuesday, October 28th at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

“We need to make sure everything is fair and decent for everyone,” said Burnett. “We definitely don’t want people running the red light but at the same time things need to be fair.”

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) says it’s about time. He and members of the council’s Progressive Caucus have tried to get hearings several times over the past two years of controversy.

“It’s years overdue,” says Waguespack. “With all the issues surrounding the cameras aldermen knew something has to change with this program. It’s been building up for so many years. We’ve been waiting for this a long time.”

Read more at DNA Info.

City Reopens Van Buren Bridge A Month Ahead Of Schedule

A historical photo of the Van Buren  Bridge from when it was first constructed in 1955. Photo credit: Chicago Public Works report from 1855.

A historical photo of the Van Buren Bridge from when it was first constructed in 1955. Photo credit: Chicago Public Works report from 1855.

A full month ahead of schedule, the 57-year old Van Buren Bridge reopened to traffic Thursday after undergoing a major rehabilitation.

Built in 1956, the bridge spans the Chicago river and connects downtown to the West Loop neighborhood, was given a new roadway deck with repaired girders, floor beams and lateral bracing according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

“The Van Buren Bridge is an important piece of our infrastructure, and this reconstruction project will ensure this historic bridge can continue to serve residents as they travel to and from work for generations to come,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday while visiting the bridge. “I thank Chicagoans for their patience during the construction and congratulate the CDOT construction crews for a job well done, and a job completed ahead of schedule.”

Bag Man In Redflex Bribery Scandal Will Plead Guilty

Redflex logoAccording to court filings, Martin O’Malley was the man in the middle of the Redflex Traffic Systems bribery scandal.

Allegedly, Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to former city manager John Bills–the man who oversaw the city’s red light camera program–with O’Malley as the conduit.

While O’Malley originally made a plea of not guilty when he was indicted earlier in the year in federal court.

However, according to the Sun-Times court documents indicate O’Malley has been cooperating with the feds and is planning to change his plea to guilty in December.

O’Malley’s cooperation probably puts additional pressure on Bills and former Redflex CEO Karen Finlay who both entered pleas of not guilty to their indictment.

Here’s the full story, “Key player in red light camera scandal plans to plead guilty.”

City Clerk Announces New Push To Nab City Sticker Scofflaws

Roscoe Village resident Chris Courtney puts his new 2015 city sticker on his windshield in the parking lot of a currency exchange after midnight Wednesday morning.

A driver  puts his new 2015 city sticker on his windshield in the parking lot of a currency exchange earlier this year.

City sticker scofflaws beware…Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza is coming after you.

Tuesday, Mendoza outlined many new ideas for the City Council during annual budget hearings at City Hall–including one to find and fine Chicago drivers who don’t buy their city stickers.

During her remarks Mendoza contended the transition to year round city sticker sales went relatively smoothly and will end up increasing revenues by $10 million by the end of 2014.

However, now that the transition to year round sales is complete the clerk’s database is being updated every month by the Illinois Secretary of State’s vehicle registration database. According to Mendoza this gives the Clerk’s office the ability to track down those vehicle owners who refuse to cough up the annual wheel tax–an estimated $5 million in revenue.

Mayor Looks To Squeeze Motorists More In 2015 Budget

Self Park signWith 2015 budget hearings getting underway, early indications seem that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking to squeeze more money out of motorists.

Emanuel’s proposed budget is looking to raise parking garage taxes by 2% next year from 20 to 22% during the week and from18 to 20% on weekends according to the Sun-Times.

The mayor hopes to raise an additional $10 million by the tax bump and then use the proceeds to hire 80 new employees to make up 18 crews to fill potholes on Chicago’s streets. This past winter was the worse on record with an expected million plus potholes being filled by the end of the year and a record breaking number of pothole related vehicle damage claims filed as well.

South Side Speed Camera Protest Set For Saturday

Red light  camera protest signIt’s supposed to be rainy Saturday.

But a little rain won’t be enough to deter the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras from protesting Saturday afternoon on the city’s South Side.

The group, which has held quite a number of protests against both red light and speed cameras at locations across the city the past year and a half.

Saturday they’ll be holding signs and handing out fliers at the intersection of 63rd and Martin Luther King Drive from 11 AM until 2 PM.

The group wants area drivers to know Willie Cochran, the alderman for the 20th ward where the cameras are located. As a member of the Chicago City Council, Cochran voted for the speed cameras two years ago.

Their hope is they can convince the alderman to sign their pledge to repeal the city’s lucrative red light and speed camera programs.

WBEZ Finds Chicago’s Yellow Lights Not Engineered Properly

In a devastating report on how the timing of yellow lights are set at Chicago’s traffic signals, WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef finds the city has not been following tried and true traffic engineering standards.

While none of what Yousef finds is news to well informed Chicago drivers, her research does a great job of explaining the issue.

In Yousef’s researh, she found that virtually no government entities set the yellow light times at virtually all traffic signals the same length–three seconds.

A recent poll says just 6% of 200 responding transportation agencies set amber times using this one size fits all approach.

Lower Than Expected Speed Camera Tickets Hurting City Budget

The good news is: Wary Chicago drivers are slowing down near speed cameras.

The bad news is: the lower than expected fines from speed cameras is hurting Mayor Emanuel’s ability to balance the budget according to CBS 2 News.