Speed Camera News Roundup

Governor Quinn jump started last week when he signed the speed camera bill into law.

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.

Guess what?

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.

Illinois Statehouse News

Lake County News Sun

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.

5 Responses to Speed Camera News Roundup

  1. Mike says:

    Hmmm, lets see here. I never trusted Rahm, I don’t trust Quinn, and I trust very few aldermen. We’re just overwhelmed with honest politicians in Illinois and in Chicago. Ah, our tax money well spent. NOT!!!!!!!!

  2. .Q says:

    I previously posted a map of the buffer zones on google maps. Based on feedback, I revisited that map over the weekend adding the physical features the buffers protect and the existing RLC.

    That map is available here: http://bit.ly/ChicagoASEzones (redirects to geocommons)

    There is still some work to do on it, such as adding the extensions of the buffer “to the farthest side of the next intersection”. I hope to be able to do that in the coming day or two.

    But, I did notice one thing with this approximation of the buffer zones. The list of RLC eligible for conversion to ASE appears low. My guess is their count was only those lights directly within the buffer zone.

    One shining example of this is the intersection of Western and Peterson mentioned in the article here. It should already be eligible for conversion based on it’s proximity to Korczak Park @ 6156 N Claremont Ave. While Western and Peterson is almost a quarter mile from the park, the 1/8th mile buffer crosses Western just south of Greenlake Ave. The next intersection of Western to the south is Peterson.

    If I had to make a quick estimate based on glancing at the map, I would say that between 2/3 and 3/4 of existing RLC will be eligible for conversion. And whether or not the City wants to admit it; the administrator of the program will push for conversion of every eligible intersection not just the ones the city has listed.

  3. Steven Vance says:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    And thank you Quinn for making the map.

  4. glg says:

    there’s one of those speed signs on Ridge between Pratt and Touhy in Rogers Park. It’s been broken for years.

  5. Pete says:

    My guess is that speed cameras will be located outside of the areas that the law actually permits. The city won’t care; as they know nobody will stop them. And eventually tickets will be given for 1 MPH over the limit.

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