Some Aldermen Getting An Earful On Speed Cameras

Based on constituent input, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera ordinance is not very popular with Chicago drivers.

The Expired Meter spent the last few days calling all 50 ward community offices to get a feel for how Chicagoans were telling their city council members about the speed camera plan.

Overall, different wards seemed to be experiencing different levels of response from their communities. According to many ward offices, they had not received any calls or emails on the controversial traffic enforcement plan.

At two ward offices, staff members were completely unfamiliar with the issue while other offices said they had received calls, but would not divulge which way the sentiment was leaning. Many others never returned our calls.

However, of the 14 wards seeing significant constituent response and willing to reveal citizen sentiment, the majority were seeing overwhelming opposition to the speed camera plan.

City Council member offices receiving a majority of phone calls and emails asking their alderman to vote no on the ordinance include Joe Moreno (1st), Pat Dowell (3rd), John Arena (45th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nicholas Sposato (36th), Richard Mell (33rd) James Cappleman (46th) Mary O’Connor (41st) and Tom Tunney (44th).

“While we have not been flooded with response like some other wards, I have received approximately 35 emails, five calls, and two-drop-ins,” said 44th Ward spokesperson Max Bever. “Only one was in favor.”

The 1st ward was seeing overwhelming negative response according to spokesperson Matt Bailey.

“Of the email correspondence we’ve received, 95% is against,” related Bailey.

The other five wards who shared info with this site said they were seeing mixed feelings from the constituents who were calling or emailing.

This included Margaret Laurino (39th), Sandi Jackson (7th), Tim Cullerton (38th), Howard Brookins (21st), Michael Zalewski (23rd) and Marty Quinn (13th).

No wards reported a scenario where the majority of constituents supported the speed cameras.

But will constituent opposition sway elected representatives?

“Alderman Cappleman is concerned he hasn’t seen solid numbers on the issue,” says 46th ward Chief of Staff Tressa Feher who’s office is seeing 70% of constituents in opposition to the ordinance. “Is it worth the money? We haven’t seen the actual stats.”

“Our constituent response is always important,” says Bever. “At this time, Alderman Tunney still has many concerns about the facts and data surrounding the need for the speed cameras, as well as their placement and installation in the City (especially, who
has say over where the cameras get installed). Expect a vigorous debate at the
committee meeting.”

The Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, will convene at 1 PM Wednesday in City Council Chambers at City Hall to discuss the proposed speed camera ordinance.

10 Responses to Some Aldermen Getting An Earful On Speed Cameras

  1. Anonymous says:

    I find it amusing that more and more I run into people that ask me when the speed cameras are going to go up because they want them in their neighborhoods because the parents and other idiots drive like morons.

    The people that are complaining about these cameras are most likely the ones that are going to get ticketed for speeding in the first place. There is a difference between these speed cameras and the RLC’s. You can get screwed by an RLC just because you didn’t stop in the 100% right spot, or you made a Legal Right on Red and the camera still went off.

    You are only going to get a Speed Camera Ticket if you Speed.

    When you drive around a School during Drop off or Pick up Times…I will guarantee that you will see at least 4 parent cars in a Tow zone, 1 or 2 parents parked on a Hydrant, several parents parked IN the Crosswalk and probably half a dozen double parked vehicles that are cocking up traffic just because “oh…my child MUST be more important than following the Law.”

    So I hope these cameras go in and go up fast….because I have nothing to fear from them.

    I’ve never seen a Chicago Cop pull over anything other than a Cab in this city…so we know they are not fighting Speeding anywhere other than Maybe LSD.

  2. SauceXX says:


    I wouldn’t be so confident on you not getting a ticket. The school zones have speed limits of 20mph when children are present. How are the cameras gong to determine when children are present? Bottom line they can’t. So potentially the effective speed limit on most city streets will now be 20 mph during camera hours and you will be ticketed at 26 mph. If the cameras ticket at regular speeds than I’m not sure how that’s supposed to help the school children and yet another reason why this is a scam. In addition cameras will be located at intersections, not necessarily in front of schools. They cameras won’t even be where they’re needed.

    It’s a funny that the ones who’d get ticketed are potentially the parents. I’m not sure Mr 1% was looking at it that way.

  3. Anonymous says:


    I don’t drive during the Hours that the Cameras are on….I’m on duty and in a city vehicle.

    The cameras are going to be active for a specific time frame of hours…like 6am to 6pm or 7am to 7pm for example.

    And you can bet that the Contractor that puts up the cameras are going to have them at every intersection that is near a school to increase revenue generating potential.

    Screw the shitty drivers.

  4. OIFVet says:

    Since when does public sentiment count for anything? I can’t remember the last time the aldercreatures failed to rubber stamp any initiative, popular or not. Except for 3 or 4 fairly independent aldermen and women the rest are pathologically incapable to say no to any taxpayer fleecing plan. Stand by for more to come with Emanuel’s public-private infrastructure boondogle. Plenty of profits for banks and insiders, plenty of additional taxes for the rest of us.

  5. I attended the city council speed camera hearing. CDOT does not have many of the necessary answers. I find it absolutely astounding foe example that the head of CDOT didn’t know how much money their cameras usurp from motorists ($69M in 2011). While there were some incise questions from some aldermen, I watched as Dick Mel expressed uncontrolled glee when the measure passed on vote out of the transportation committee. I might be a cynic, but it appeared as though a wire transfer just went through.
    I testified about speed camera facts CDOT didn’t care to hear. CDOT testified to speed camera sucess stories i never heard before which I have serious credibility questions about. I will research to find the real facts. AZ got rid of their speed cameras because after four years of operation there no safety benefits which could be ascertained.

  6. 019 District Cop says:

    there are no real or official safety benefits except for the fact that they get people to either slow down in the camera zones or the people that speed get tickets.

    They are called Speed Traps for a Reason and smaller municipalities rely upon the revenue generated by the tickets issued in the speed traps for their annual budgets.

    The City of Chicago stands to clean up….they need 1 speed camera on North Bound Dan Ryan by IIT and one on South Bound Dan Ryan by IIT…

    90% of the vehicles on the Dan Ryan don’t drive Under 55 mph and it is a 45 MPH zone from 95th to the Circle. 1 Camera at Every intersection within 2 miles of any school = TON of Cash every Month because people are morons that don’t like to drive properly.

  7. Pete says:

    45 MPH on the Dan Ryan does NOT equal driving properly. It would be sheer stupidity.

  8. In two years i predict the city will stick speed cameras on Lake Shore Drive and claim they’re schools of fish and the beach is they’re recreation park area safety zone.

  9. Jimbo2K7 says:

    I got a little tast of these cameras while in New Orleans a few months back. I was driving the speed limit, 35 mph, around 2:45 in the afternoon. Summertime – school was out for summer break – but the cameras apparently were not. The school zone went into effect at 2:30 regardless, speed limit dropped to 20 mph, and I was caught now driving 15 mph over the limit – a $160 fine. I even saw a video of me poking down the street with no one within 100 yards.

    $160 for driving 35 mph.

    Needless to say I will not be driving to New Orleans any time soon. And living right next to a Chicago Park and County Forest Preserve me fear is that I am going to be more susceptible to these fines just by living right next to them.

    I am letting my alderman know my feelings immediately.

  10. Sadriver712 says:

    After receiving three $100 tickets in the mail for a right turn in East Dundee, Il, I am fearful to drive anywhere. I am a social worker and my job is to visit people in their homes.

    This red cameras are about making money for the municipalities, and not about safety! This is very sad for America….This is not about safety because I am a law abiding citizen. I have never received a speeding ticket or any other traffic violation.

    I did not placed anybody at risk when I made a right turn in the intersection of 68 and 72 in East Dundee.

    The red lights have been made longer in the places where there are red light cameras, so the people behind one get frustrated and start blowing the horn. Is this going to happen in every city of the USA? This is causing people to fear living their homes.

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