Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween Safety Tips For Drivers, Trick Or Treaters

jack-o-lanternHalloween may be the most dangerous night of the year for kids.

And not because of all the stomach aches that occur from consuming an overabundance of candy.

No, there are multiple studies that indicate more children are hit by vehicles on October 31st than any other 24 hour period of the year.

So, here are a few tips when you’re out driving on Halloween to make sure everyone gets home safe and sound Wednesday evening.

1-Slow Down

RedEye: Chicago’s Stolen Car Problem By The Numbers

Over 14,000 cars were stolen in Chicago last year.

That’s a big number, but RedEye has put together an impressive, data heavy report really breaking down the city’s numbers on stolen vehicles.

In this graphic heavy piece, RedEye shows where you’re more likely to have your ride ripped off, your chances of getting it back and general trends in grand theft auto Chicago-style.

Perhaps the best news is that car thefts seem to be decreasing as 2012 saw a 10% decrease in stolen autos, and 2013 seems like it will continue the trend as only 8,809 vehicles were taken so far this year.

The bad news? If your car is stolen you have about a 5-6% chance of ever seeing it again.

Where’s the best places to go to have your car stolen? Well, mainly south side and west side neighborhoods. The 6th ward, in particular, seems to be the city’s stolen car capitol according to the report.

Check it out yourself at RedEye, “Chicago auto theft: By the numbers.”

Rollout Of Driver’s Licenses For Illegal Immigrants Begins In December

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Tuesday that his office will begin issuing Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses (TVDL) to illegal immigrants beginning in December.

This first phase of the TVDL program will begin as a pilot program where undocumented applicants can get their TVDL by appointment only at just four Secretary of State Driver’s Services facilities. Walk in applicants will not be allowed.

The four locations for the TVDL pilot program will be Chicago West, 5301 W. Lexington Ave., Springfield, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy. Chicago North, 5401 N. Elston Ave. and Bloomington, 1510 W. Market St.

The program will expand to all 25 state Driver’s Services locations in January. Applicants will still need to make an appointment to begin the application process.

Red Light Camera Roundup: St. Charles, Western Springs, Oak Brook Terrace

Here’s a short roundup of red light camera news from around the Chicagoland area.

Western Springs Police Say RLC’s Reduce Accidents, Though Violations Rise

There are some very odd numbers coming out of west suburban Western Springs according to the Doings of Western Springs newspaper.

Western Springs police have data showing that crashes have decreased at two red light intersections there, but alarmingly red light violations have not fallen but are going up!

Illinois Department of Transportation data does show crashes decreased between 2009 to 2012 at the two intersections. However, at least part of the decrease could be attributed to the way IDOT counts crashes which was changed, coincidentally in 2009. But the Western Springs police nor the newspaper mentions this inconvenient fact.

2-Mile Extension Of South Lake Shore Drive Officially Opens

A contingent of prominent pols help cut the ribbon for the opening of the new Lake Snore Drive extension. Photo credit: Tanveeer Ali/DNA Info.

How many politicians does it take to open the new two-mile extension of South Lake Shore Drive?

Apparently, a lot as evidenced by the ribbon cutting ceremony which took place Saturday morning.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Alderman John Pope (10th) were some of the bigger name pols who showed up to officially open a new span of Lake Shore Drive between 79th and 92nd according to DNA Info.

Alderman Beale Feels Parking Ticket Fine Increases Excessive

Ald. Anthony Beale. Photo credit: Wendell Hutson/DNA Info

South Side Alderman Anthony Beale (9th) isn’t taking kindly to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to increase fines on some parking violations and fees for impounded cars.

Beale believes these increases will disproportionately affect residents of lesser means according to DNA Info.

“I understand that we have to get creative to plug this hole but it seems like our creativity is coming off the backs of the poor and middle class,” Beale said. “Increasing rush-hour parking violations to $100 from $60 or storage fees for impounded cars to $20 from $10 is excessive.”

South Lake Shore Drive Extension Opens Sunday Morning

A two-mile extension of South Lake Shore Drive opens to motor vehicles Sunday morning at 9 AM according to the Sun-Times.

US Route 41 aka Lake Shore Drive got moved several blocks east, adjacent to the old U.S. Steel plant.

The new extension starts at South Shore Drive and 79th and ends near 92nd.

Here’s the full Sun-Times report, “Two-mile South Lake Shore Drive extension to open over the weekend.”

Xerox Wins $44 Million Contract To Run City’s Red-Light Cameras

A sign on Irving Park Road warns drivers of the red light camera at at Kedzie.

The world’s largest copier manufacturer will now oversee the nation’s largest red light-camera program the City of Chicago confirmed Friday morning.

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday it finalized the $44 million contract with Xerox to run the cameras for the next five years. There are options to renew it three times at two years per extension.

Xerox will move immediately to take over the management of the red-light camera program from Redflex, according to CDOT.

Under the new contract, Xerox will charge the city $1,819 per camera per month, which is substantially less than the $4,300 per month Redflex has been charging under the current contract, CDOT said. Officials said the new contract will save $50 million dollars over the next five years.

“Automated red-light enforcement changes drivers’ behavior to reduce the number of crashes and increase the level of safety for everyone,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “We plan to continue this important program with a new management team that will both improve the technology and efficiency of the program while saving operating expenses.”

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Story updated to reflect correct total contract amount.

CBS 2 Reports On Technology To Prevent Speed Camera Tickets

License plate covers, sprays and GPS warning devices may be methods for drivers to utilize to prevent expensive speed camera tickets.

CBS 2 reporter Brad Edwards looks into which methods may work…or don’t work in his report.

Here’s the full CBS 2 story, “License Plate Covers, Phone Apps Can Help You Evade Speed Cameras.”

Alderman Proposes $25 Bike Registration Fee

Southside Alderman Pat Dowd (4th) proposed a $25 registration fee for city bicycle riders on Wednesday at City Hall according to DNA Info.

Dowell is looking for a way to soften a proposed cable TV tax increase in the draft 2014 budget and believes, based on an estimated 200,000 bike owners in Chicago, her licensing fee would bring in $5 million a year.