Chicago To Remove Red Light Cameras At 18 Locations
According to the city, the cameras at these intersections will be decommissioned due to a dramatic decrease in right angle crashes at those locations.
“Automated traffic enforcement, whether through red-light or speed cameras, is about
changing drivers’ behavior,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel via press release. “The cameras at these intersections are now showing a low level of crashes and dangerous angle crashes, which means an enhanced level of safety.”
The city says Illinois Department of Transportation crash data showed that these 18 intersections saw one or less right angle crashes in the past year and that there was a total crash rate of less than one percent–a figure determined by diving the total number of crashes in a year by average daily traffic counts.
Right angle or T-bone crashes at intersections are considered to be the most dangerous types of vehicle crashes.
Barnet Fagel, a long time critic of the city’s automated traffic enforcement programs, doesn’t believe red light cameras improve traffic safety and thinks intersections are actually safer without them.
“Why stop at 18?”, asked Barnet Fagel a traffic safety spokesperson for the National Motorists Association. “I’m pleased these intersections now have a chance to be safer without the cameras there.”
The list of locations includes two in the city’s list of top ten red light camera ticket producing intersections. In 2012, Stony Island and 89th was the 7th highest producing intersection with 9,644 tickets and Clark and Cermak was ranked 10th with 7,923 tickets. Most of the other locations issued considerably less RLC violations.
The removal of these 36 cameras accounts for approximately 9% of the city’s total red light cameras. In 2012, these 18 intersections accounted for 56,184 red light camera tickets or with initial fines at $100 a pop, $5.6 million dollars in potential revenue. These numbers, coincidentally, also constitute a 9% reduction.
“I wouldn’t worry about the loss of revenue,” said Fagel. “The speed cameras will more than make up for any losses from these few red light cameras.”
Earlier in the year, Chicago’s Inspector General’s Office released a report which criticized the Chicago Department of Transportation for running a sloppy program which had not been monitoring the program to see if the cameras were effective in improving traffic safety.
Despite removing these cameras from operation, the city will continue to operate 348 cameras at 172 locations, still giving Chicago the distinction of red light camera capitol of the U.S. Chicago collected a total of $72 million in revenue from red light cameras in 2012 and has collected close to half a billion dollars in revenue since 2003 when the first cameras went live in Chicago.
City spokesperson Bill McCaffrey says these cameras will be removed by January 31st, 2014.
The city is currently negotiating a new contract for its red light camera program with Xerox. Redflex, the current vendor, has operated the program since its inception in 2003 but was banned from the bidding process for the new contract after bribery allegations were raised by the Chicago Tribune.
Redflex is currently working under the second of two contract extensions until the new contract is finalized and the new vendor can take over the program.
Below is the list released by the city of the 18 red light camera intersections slated for removal.
- Osceola and Touhy Avenues
- Kedzie and Devon Avenues
- Harlem and Higgins Avenues
- Sheridan Road and Hollywood Avenue
- Austin and Belmont Avenues
- Cicero and Belmont Avenues
- Halsted and Belmont Avenues
- California and North Avenues
- Wells and North Avenues
- Kostner Avenue and Division Street
- Clark Street and Cermak Road
- California Avenue and 35th Street
- California Avenue and 47th Street
- Pulaski Road and 71st Street
- Wentworth Avenue and 69th Street
- Racine Avenue and 79th Street
- 79th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue
- Stony Island Avenue and 89th Street
UPDATE: The city’s original list of intersections included “Wentworth & 65th”. This has been corrected after a CDOT spokesperson explained the original listing was a typo.