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 »

 

UIC Awarded $5.5 Contract To Continue Traffic Research

John Dillenburg, senior research scientist in computer science, with systems specialists Sri Poodipeddi and Anjum Malik. Photo credit: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

John Dillenburg, senior research scientist in computer science, with systems specialists Sri Poodipeddi and Anjum Malik. Photo credit: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

How can Chicago reduce traffic congestion?

The University of Illinois’ Artificial Intelligence Lab is trying to find the answers.

That’s the reason the Illinois Department of Transportation awarded the lab $5.5 million to continue developing the Gateway Traveler Information System and the TravelMidwest.com website.

These sites gives motorists real time information on expressway congestion for the greater Chicago area to allow drivers to find the most efficient way to their destination.

The interactive maps allow users to zoom in get data on travel times, congestion, construction, accidents, and other events which effect traffic.

Google Maps Says Avoid Driving Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

Worst Day to Travel graphicIf you don’t want to be stuck in traffic this holiday weekend, Google Maps says avoid driving Wednesday.

Wednesday is the worst day for motorists to travel during the Thanksgiving Day holiday exodus from the city according to the internet’s most popular search site.

Of course, this is no surprise to hardened Chicago drivers used to the painful traffic congestion on some of the nation’s most traveled expressways even when its not on the day before a major holiday.

Google Map, using its access to vast amounts of data from 21 major cities over the past two years has given drivers insight into turkey day holiday travel in a recent report.

Police Close Select Chicago Roadways Due To Ferguson Protests

police600Monday evening’s announcement that Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson won’t be indicted for killing 18-year old Michael Brown has sparked protests in Chicago resulting in street closures in some areas of the city.

The Chicago Police Department says Lake Shore Drive has been shutdown in both directions from Roosevelt Road south,  due to ongoing protests centered around the Bronzeville neighborhood.

“Due to Police Activity NB & SB S Lake Shore Drive SB @ at Roosevelt Rd has been shut down and until further notice,” CPD said in a one sentence statement.

Protesters have gathered outside Chicago Police Headquarters at 35th and Michigan Avenue and reports have other protesters converging on Daley Plaza and the Thompson Center downtown. Some streets surrounding these areas with large numbers of protestors are being closed by police according to CPD.

The intersection of 35th and Martin Luther King Drive and surround streets are closed. Michigan Avenue from 31st to Cermak. The Stevenson (I-55) is closed between the Kennedy (I-90/94) and Lake Shore Drive.

Overwhelming forensic evidence and strong eye witness testimony showed Michael Brown, after robbing a convenience store, attacked officer Wilson who shot and killed Brown in self defense and led the grand jury to pass on indicting Wilson.

UPDATE 11:00 PM: Protestors are reporting via Twitter CPD has blocked bridges along Wacker Drive to prevent protesters from coming into River North.

UPDATE 11:10 PM: Traffic reports have the Stevenson reopened from Kennedy to LSD.

Divvy Biker Critically Injured Riding On Lake Shore Drive

Divvy bike stationApparently, alcohol and riding a Divvy bike don’t mix.

According to DNA Info, a 24-year old man rode a Divvy bike onto North Lake Shore Drive early Saturday morning around 2:45 AM.

The biker was in the northbound lanes of LSD just south of the Belmont exit when he began swerving between two lanes. An Uber taxi carrying a passenger was first struck by the bicyclist, taking off a side view mirror and throwing the rider to the pavement. Two other vehicles also struck the cyclist.

The critically injured man was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital.

Here’s the full story from DNA Info, “Divvy Rider Injured on Lake Shore Drive Collided with Uber Cab: Witness.”

H/T to Jeff.

Car Alarm Inspires Funny Note, Apology From Owner

Car alarm siren.

Car alarm siren.

No one enjoys the shrill, piercing sound of a car alarm–especially  when it wakes you in the  middle of the night.

DNA Info reports of a neighborhood car alarm dust up  in the Ukranian Village.

A car alarm goes off around 5 AM and continues to blare for nearly  90 minutes.

Ouch.

One resident left a nasty,  yet humorous note on the car to register their displeasure.

“Dear a——,” the note begins. “Your car alarm went off for 1½ hours last night. You cost the neighborhood REM sleep, growth hormone AND cortisol production (which is highest at 5 a.m. and essential for life!) You basically killed us. Thanks a lot.”

Illinois Senate Passes Veto Override Of 70 MPH Bill

70 MPH signOn Thursday in Springfield, the Illinois State Senate overwhelmingly 44-5-1 to override Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill that will raise the speed limit on Illinois Tollways to 70 mph.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), has been trying to raise the speed limit on Illinois expressways for the past two years with some success.

“The Governor is fond of saying ‘Let the will of the people be the law of the land,’ yet he was quick to veto legislation that was sponsored by 36 Senators representing Chicago, suburban and downstate areas of Illinois,” Oberweis said Thursday. “And today, a majority of my colleagues in the Senate joined me in overriding the Governor’s veto.”

A bill signed by Quinn in 2013 was supposed to increase the speed limit on all expressways–including the tollway and Chicago area expressways–at least according to Oberweis who authored the bill.

Illinois Supreme Court Fails To Come To Concensus On Red Light Camera Lawsuit, Results In Dismissal

A legal challenge to Chicago’s red light cameras was dismissed Thursday by the Illinois Supreme Court — a result that came about after two judges recused themselves and the remaining four were split on the matter.

“In this case, two Justices of this Court have recused themselves and the remaining members of the Court are divided so that it is not possible to secure the constitutionally required concurrence of four judges for a decision,” the short decision states. “Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed. The effect of this dismissal is the same as an affirmance by an equally divided court of the decision under review but is of no precedential value.”

The class action lawsuit argued that all Chicago red light tickets issued between 2003 and 2006, before a state law was passed to allow red light camera enforcement in eight counties — Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, Will, McHenry and St. Clair — were invalid.

The lawsuit also contended every red light camera ticket issued in the city beyond 2006 is invalid because Chicago never drafted a new ordinance after the state enacted its red light camera law in 2006.

The city has always argued it had the right to establish the program under home rule authority.

Read more at DNA Info.

Illinois Supreme Court Poised To Rule On Chicago’s Red Light Camera Lawsuit Thursday

red_light_cameraAfter more than six months of waiting, the Illinois Supreme Court will rule on whether a class action lawsuit against Chicago’s red light camera program can continue on it’s long legal road.

Tuesday the court’s website announced a ruling on the case will be issued Thursday morning.

The court heard oral arguments on Keating v. City of Chicago this past May at the historic Ottawa Courthouse.

Attorney Patrick Keating filed the class action suit in 2010 in Cook County Circuit Court but it got dismissed. This ruling was upheld by the Appellate Court in 2013 and then promptly appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Ticket Geek Joins Nick D On WGN 720 Radio Saturday Night

Nick D. on the air

Nick D. behind the microphone at WGN Radio.

What are you doing Saturday night?

Dinner? Movie? Hot date? Going out for a drink?

How about tuning into WGN Radio 720 AM and listening to that goof the Parking Ticket Geek ramble on about parking and driving issues in Chicago.

Sounds thrilling, right?

Luckily for listeners, the Geek will be on with the always entertaining and hilarious Nick Digilio at 8:30 PM.

Tune into WGM Radio 720 AM or stream it live here.

Musician Tours All 50 States One Parking Meter At A Time

Pablo Picker plays in the back of his pickup.

Pablo Picker plays in the back of his pickup.

The first thing Pablo Picker does after parking his pickup truck is to feed the meter.

Picker is a Boston based musician who’s taking his music to the streets–literally–playing music from the back of his truck sitting at parking meters in all 50 states.

This day he sits barefoot in the back of a pickup truck parked on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, playing guitar and singing to a constantly changing audience of hipsters, commuters, parents and children walking by.

Picker had been playing in public for years, mainly in Boston’s Harvard Square where he saw many street musicians getting hassled by police for not having a permit. While Picker was smart enough to get his own busker license, he’s always been uncomfortable with the idea that musicians couldn’t just entertain people in public without the formality of a license.

So after recording a new album, he got the urge to get back on the street to share his music, and decided do a tour playing in public in all 50 states. But he was concerned about the possibility of getting on the wrong side of local law enforcement.

So he came up with a brilliant solution–parking meters.