Yearly Archives: 2013

Mayor Emanuel Appoints New Commissioner Of Transportation

Rebekah Schoeinfeld. Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago.

Rebekah Schoeinfeld. Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday, his appointment of Rebekah Scheinfeld to become the city’s new Commissioner of Transportation.

Scheinfeld will take over for the freshly departed Gabe Klein who left as head of the Chicago Department of Transportation at the end of November after two and a half years at the department’s helm.

“In two and a half years, Chicago has become a national leader in expanding transportation options and rebuilding infrastructure,” said Emanuel in a statement. “Rebekah will continue to build on our successful record and ensure that every Chicagoan has access to world-class transportation systems. Her strong management and planning skills will bring a lot to the agency as it continues the critical work of making sure Chicago has a strong, vibrant, accessible transportation network.”

Scheinfeld is coming over from the CTA where she is currently the Chief Planning Officer and a Senior Vice President.

Sauganash Speed Cameras A Trap Say Residents

Residents of the Northwest Side Sauganash neighborhood are saying speed cameras along Peterson Avenue are a speed trap according to ABC 7 News.

Residents say the speed limit in a stretch of Cicero Avenue between Peterson and Devon has always been 35 mph–that’s until the speed cameras went in.

Now, the speed limit is 35 mph but drops to 30 mph for about three blocks, then goes back up to 35 mph past the speed cameras.

Residents say this is the very definition of a speed trap and they don’t like it.

Here’s the full story from ABC 7 News, “Sauganash speed camera zone draws complaints for conflicting signs.”

Thanks to Barnet Fagel, the Red Light Doctor for the great tip!

IDOT Announces 70 MPH Speed Limit Locations

122713 IDOT 70MPH_IllinoisSpeedLimits_12272013The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway announced late Friday the locations of interstate expressways where speed limits will increase to 70 mph.

The entirety of those roadways getting a bump in their speed limit are more than 60 miles outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

State law changes making the speed limit 70 mph on all expressways on January 1st. But both IDOT and the Tollway declined to increase the speed limits on any Chicago-area expressway. That’s despite data that shows most drivers in off peak times are already exceeding the speed limit and that Senator Jim Oberweis, the law’s sponsor says both agencies are not following the law.

“I think they are thwarting the will of the people and the intent of the law,” Oberweis said. “They’re only giving us 55 [mph], and I’m not satisfied with that.”

IDOT says they will start changing effected speed limit signs on January 2nd and believe the process of changing these signs should be completed by January 17th.

Chicago’s Proposed Bike Tax Gets National Attention

Bikers "Mass" up traffic in Wicker Park

Bikers “Mass” up traffic in Wicker Park

While it currently seems to have fizzled out, the $25 bike registration fee proposed a few months ago by Ald. Leslie Hairston was getting some national attention recently.

An Associated Press story is making the rounds of the national media where Chicago is the primary focus, but it spotlights other places around the nation where similar taxes are being proposed including Georgia, Oregon, Washington and Vermont.

The story weighs the outraged biker point of view against others who feel biking infrastructure should be at least partially funded with tax dollars from the people who use it–the same way roads are funded by fuel taxes, etc.

Here’s the story from The Blaze, “Bike Hike: Why Chicago Considered a Bike Tax, and Why It’s Not Alone.”

State Senator, IDOT Fight To Over Raising Speed Limits On City Expressways

Cars on the inbound Kennedy Expressway cruise past a 55 mph speed limit sign on their way into the city.

Cars on the inbound Kennedy Expressway cruise past a 55 mph speed limit sign on their way into the city.

There’s a battle raging between an Illinois state senator and the Illinois Department of Transportation on raising the speed limit to 70 mph on Illinois expressways — and Chicago’s expressways are ground zero.

A bill to increase the speed on expressways was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in August and is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. But there seems to be some confusion on how the law should be interpreted when it comes to Chicago’s expressways.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), the law’s sponsor, said Public Act 098-0511 is supposed to apply to all state expressways, including any that run through Chicago.

But IDOT, while allowing the speed limits on expressways in rural areas outside Chicago to mildly increase from 65 to 70, is refusing to raise the posted speed limit on the Kennedy, Dan Ryan, Edens, Stevenson or Eisenhower expressways, according to documents obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.

“I think they are thwarting the will of the people and the intent of the law,” Oberweis said. “They are setting speed limits at a point where law-abiding motorists are going to cause an accident. Do you tell them to follow the law and risk an accident or break the law and be safer?”

Read more at DNA Info.

City Vehicles Rack Up Hefty Numbers In Red Light Camera Tickets

red_light_cameraAccording to a Chicago Tribune report on red light camera tickets, since 2007 drivers in city owned vehicles have racked up 11,500 red light camera tickets.

The CTA was the agency leading the way with over 4,500 RLC violations over the past seven years.

While the city worker operating the vehicle at the time of the violation is responsible for paying the $100 fine, CTA bus drivers do not adhere to the same rules. It turns out when the CTA tried to make drivers pay several years ago, their union protested so it’s taxpayers who foot the bill for those fines.

Merry Chicago Camera Christmas

Redlight Camera Christmas

It’s Merry Christmas Chicago-style.

This Christmas card from local public relations firm, Thomas Serafin & Associates, humorously captures the spirit of the season while poking fun at this city’s obsession with automated camera enforcement.

We here at The Expired Meter wish you and your family a blessed and happy Christmas holiday.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Billy stands next to the parking meter pay box on Damen Avenue in Wicker Park where he was paying to park while his car was getting ticketed.

Billy stands next to the parking meter pay box on Damen Avenue in Wicker Park where he was paying to park while his car was getting ticketed.

Mr. Parking Meter guy,

This morning I parked my car at Damen off North Avenue to get a cup of coffee before heading to work.

I parked my car and walked almost a block to the parking meter box to see two people ahead of me paying to park. I patiently waited in the frigid cold for about two minutes before my turn came up to pay. I put in 25 cents to pay for 10 minutes, got my receipt, walked to my car and BOOM: orange ticket on my car!

The parking ticket was issued at 9:31 a.m. but my parking meter receipt says 9:33.

Is this legal? how can they get away with this?

Billy

Read more at DNA Info.

An Inside Look At The Kennedy Expressway’s Reversible Lanes

Traffic jamWho knew the Kennedy Expressway’s reversible lanes were such an interesting topic?

The Chicago Tribune published an excellent piece on the reversible lanes recently that gives readers amazing insight into how they work.

These additional two lanes are switched twice a day. The lanes are inbound for the morning rush and then flipped for the  outbound rush hour in the middle of the day during the week. On Friday nights an additional set of reversals are made to accommodate drivers headed into the city for dinner or a night on the town.

West Loop ‘Day Tripper’ Parking Restrictions Come Under Fire

West Loop MapIt’s not working.

A pilot program to discourage non-residents or “day trippers” from parking on West Loop streets and then taking public transit to their jobs or to shop downtown is coming under fire from local business groups and some residents according to Gazette Chicago.

The city has put up signs restricting parking on many area streets from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM which are now causing problems and complaints.

Business owners say the ban is hurting businesses.

Neighborhood residents complain it’s making it hard for them to park there cars for long periods near their homes.