Speed Camera News Roundup
Of course, this site had its signature comprehensive coverage of the story.
But there’s been a decent number of articles and stories on the subject that our diligent and hardworking editors want to bring to our loyal reader’s attention.
Trib FOIA Stuff
First up is the Chicago Tribune’s self-aggrandizing Freedom of Information story. For months, the Trib has been trying to get its hands on documents related to the speed camera law and reporting every chance they could about the denial of their FOIA requests. They wanted to know what went into the decision making process for spearheading the speed camera law.
Not surprisingly, the newspaper was skeptical about the basis for the city’s safety claims to rationalize speed camera enforcement.
But after months of fighting for the release of these documents, the city finally released some heavily redacted documents making them virtually unintelligible.
Reporters with the paper then interviewed Mayor Emanuel for about an hour, which was contentious throughout, but grew even more heated when the topic of speed camera enforcement came up.
Hilariously, the Mayor tries to cite safety studies that prove speed cameras are effective, but can produce no study to back up his assertions.
Here are some interesting excerpts over at Grid Chicago.
Some Good Coverage Over At Grid Chicago
Transportation blog, Grid Chicago has been doing some good work covering the speed camera issue as well.
Website proprietor Steve Vance, spent one very long night compiling a very comprehensive overview of the subject.
Here’s Vance’s enviously good piece, “What speed camera legislation means for Chicago.”
A Different Approach to Improving Driving Safety
Next up, we have some coverage from WBEZ radio. In this audio clip, two station news reporters give the lowdown on the bill.
But it is the second half of the segment that is the most interesting. Really interesting.
Eight Forty-Eight host Steve Edwards interviews Wired Magazine’s Thomas Goetz, who authored a piece on dynamic speed displays.
Essentially, the concept is having a radar gun hooked up to a large digital readout above a speed limit sign. When a car passes, the digital readout, which is labeled “Your Speed” flashes the speed the car is going.
The idea was conceived in Garden Grove, CA when the city was having problems convincing drivers to obey the speed limit and stop running over pedestrians, bike riders and the like.
Because the concept informed drivers in real time about their speed, drivers began to slow down and comply with the law.
However, unlike the Chicago speed camera concept, dynamic speed displays do not generate revenue.
Goetz theorizes this idea will work better at convincing drivers to follow the speed limit than speed cameras. That’s because dynamic speed displays give the driver feedback info immediately as opposed to speed cameras which will inform misbehaving drivers several weeks after the fact.
Here’s WBEZ’s full coverage, “Speed cameras come to Chicago school zones, but do they work?”
And make sure you read Wired Magazine’s, “Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops.”
Will Speed Cameras Spread Outside Chicago?
Chicago was the first city to harness the revenue generating power of red light cameras back in 2003. Once other greedy municipalities saw the tens of millions of dollars the Windy City was taking in, it was only a matter of time before Illinois state law changed to let dozens of other cities to jump into the red light camera game.
Now that Gov. Quinn gave Mayor Emanuel the chance to start up another money generating monster, many drivers and reporters outside Chicago are asking when the speed cameras coming to torment their towns.
Here are two stories that are heavy on the paranoia.
News Of The Weird
Finally, the weirdest story about the speed cameras is the nutty theory that the Mayor wants to use speed cameras to help fund the acquisition of park land for the Chicago Park District.
Here’s the piece from NBC 5′s Ward Room blog, “Build A Park, Install A Speed Camera.”
This is even too much for my tin foil hatted head.