Monthly Archives: August 2013

Famed Filmmaker Makes Documentary About Texting While Driving

It’s an odd partnership.

AT&T asked acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog, to put together a short documentary on the dangers posed by drivers who  text while driving.

Chicago Announces 50 Speed Camera Locations

A truck mounted crane lifts one of the city's first speed cameras off a flatbed truck to be installed on Pulaski at Foster Monday morning.

The Chicago Department of Transportation released a list today of 50 speed camera enforcement locations which are slated to be installed by the end of this year.

The city’s Children’s Safety Zone Program allows for speed cameras to be installed within 1/8 of a mile of a school or park. 28 of these initial 50 locations are being installed around parks with 22 locations going in around grammar or high schools. The program, if full implemented could have speed cameras at approximately 350 locations across the city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein believe the speed cameras will convince drivers to slow down, obey the speed limit and ultimately reduce crashes and improve traffic safety, while critics believe the cameras are primarily to generate revenue.

“The Children’s Safety Zone Program protects children and other pedestrians by reminding motorists to slow down and obey speed laws – particularly in school and park zones,” said Gabe Klein Friday via press release.

Anti-BRT Group Proposes Alternatives, Discusses Strategy

Roger Romanelli of the Ashland-Western Coaltion holds up one of the group's signs at a meeting Wednesday evening in West Town.

Around 40 concerned residents and business owners turned out Wednesday evening to hear about what next steps the Ashland-Western Coalition is proposing to stop the city’s plan to bring bus rapid transit to Ashland Avenue.

With cars whizzing by behind them, attendees seated in a fenced in parking lot at Orlando Glass and Trim, at 641 N. Ashland, heard a presentation outlining the negative impact the city’s plan on the street and neighborhoods, an outline of the group’s alternative proposal and what the group needs to do next to succeed.

Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Randolph/Fulton Market Association, said the group was committed to improving bus transit along Ashland but was opposed to what the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Transit Authority are proposing.

“We want the best public transit for our city,” Romanelli said. “We want to work with our mayor. We want to work with our aldermen and our congressman. We are saying ‘No thank you’ to the [express bus plan] as of today. We don’t think Ashland is ready.”

The city’s current proposal for the Ashland project is for a center lane running express bus service from 31st Street to Cortland Avenue with stops every half mile. But in order to achieve this, the current four lanes of traffic on Ashland Avenue would be reduced to a single lane in each direction. Local bus service would continue, and except for a few intersections that connect directly to expressways, all left turns would be prohibited.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Lake Shore Drive Would Be A Great Place For Speed Cameras

NBC Chicago Ward Room writer, Edward McClelland thinks Lake Shore Drive would be a wonderful place for speed cameras.

Of course, this is a fabulously idiotic idea.

Because McClelland is painfully uniformed about speed cameras and traffic safety in general, his opinion piece is an exercise of ignorance.

Cook County Traffic Court Get Access To National Driving Data

Cook County judges who rule on Chicago and suburban traffic violations will soon have access to the driving records of defendants from across the nation according to the Chicago Tribune.

According to the story, county criminal prosecutors have had access to national databases in order to give judges the information on a defendant to impose a proper sentence.

But up until now, this type of access to national data on driver records was never available. Judges and prosecutors only view county traffic violations.

A Short History On How Disabilty Parking Laws Changed In Illinois

The new disability parking placard that still allows drivers to park at meters for free.

On January 1st, most “handicapped” or “disabled” drivers will lose the ability to park for free at Chicago’s parking meters.

Illinois state law changed in 2012. Now, only severely handicapped person who cannot operate or access a parking meter due to their disability will qualify for the new state placards.

The impetus for the change resulted, ironically, from the city’s 2008 parking meter lease deal which dramatically increased the cost to park at metered spaces around the city. Prices quadrupled in the first year and now, Chicago’s downtown meter rates are the most expensive in North America.

Some drivers who had access to disability parking placards used them to park for free all across the city, especially in the Loop where rates are the most expensive. The problem for the city was that the parking meter lease contract allowed Chicago Parking Meters, LLC the private company which paid the city $1.16 billion in 2008 in exchange for control of the parking meters and it’s lucrative revenue stream, to bill Chicago for lost revenue from all the people using their placards to park for free.

Those bills came to a shocking $55 million, an amount that most assuredly played a big part in moving the new law through the Illinois General Assembly.

Geek Joins Nick Digilio Saturday Night At Midnight On WGN Radio

WGN Radio's Nick Digilio

The Parking Ticket Geek joins Nick Digilio at the stroke of midnight on WGN Radio 720Saturday night.

Nick D. and the Geek have LOTS to talk about this time around.

Things like the city’s new speed cameras, the $100,000 parking ticket debacle, new traffic laws coming your way and of course, answering lots of people’s parking and driving questions.

Make sure you call in and hassle the Geek on the air.

Tune in at midnight or stream it here.

City’s First Speed Camera Goes Live Monday

This speed camera in the 4100 block of W. Foster will be one of the first to start issuing warnings this coming Monday.

The testing is over on Chicago’s first speed camera.

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday that speed enforcement cameras at two locations adjacent to Gompers Park will go live on Monday.

The two cameras, one located in the 4100 block of W. Foster Ave. and the other around the corner in the 5100 block of N. Pulaski Rd., were installed about two weeks ago, but will officially begin issuing warnings to drivers who are exceeding the speed limit by six miles per hour over the limit or more.

The warnings will be issued via mail but speeding motorists will not be liable for any fines for the first 30 days.

After the 30-day warning period, drivers caught speeding on camera will be fined $35 for speeding 6-10 mph over the limit or $100 for exceeding the limit by 11 mph or more. The city says it expects to bring in around $15 million in speed camera revenue by the end of 2013.

City Of Chicago Settles $100,000 Parking Ticket Case

Jennifer Fitzgerald and her attorney, Robin Omahana stand outside the Richard J. Daley Center this past April.

Jennifer Fitzgerald’s parking ticket nightmare is over.

The City of Chicago recently agreed to drop more than $100,000 in parking ticket fines on a car registered in Fitzgerald’s name that racked up a record 678 tickets, Law Department spokesman Roderick Drew.

The agreement to reduce the final parking ticket bill to just $4,470 was signed just more than a week ago.

Robin Omahana, the attorney representing Fitzgerald, said his client is happy with the resolution.

“She’s very grateful it’s all over,” Omahana said. “She’s pleased we got the city down to just four percent of their total claim.”

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Clark St. Allegedly Needs A ‘Road Diet’ Say Lincoln Parkers

43rd Alderman Michele Smith operates a speed gun on Tuesday night during a meeting to discuss traffic issues along Clark Street. Photo credit: Paul Biasco/DNA Info.

Clark Street, between North Avenue and Armitage, needs to go on a road diet.

At least that’s what DNA Info reports Lincoln Park residents, business owners and 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith are saying.

That stretch of Clark Street along Lincoln Park is two lanes in both directions. However, it’s one lane in both directions south of North Avenue and north of Armitage.

Local observers say the roomy few blocks of street encourage drivers to speed up, but then slow down abruptly where the street narrows.

The Active Transportation Alliance says it is these areas that have been extremely dangerous for bike riders. Active Trans says there have been 24 bike crashes and 14 pedestrian crashes along that stretch of Clark between 2006-2011.