WGN News: Are Speed Cameras About Safety Or Revenue?

In a wide-ranging piece, WGN TV News takes a hard look at Chicago’s freshly minted speed camera program to find out if the program is about safety or generating revenue for the city.

Reporter Jackie Bange only had to venture a few blocks from the TV station’s Bradley Place studios to come across a pair of speed cameras. The cameras, catching speeders on Addison and Western Avenue adjacent to Lane Tech High School are walking distance from WGN.

The station went to the city to obtain the pedestrian crash data that went into the selection of speed cam sites, but according to Bange they “hit a road block.”

WGN tries to compare pedestrian and bike crash data from the website ChicagoCrashes.org against some broader crash data the city finally did provide. At least at the one intersection they focus on, at the intersection of Western and Addison, they find only a handful of pedestrian/biker crashes over the past few years.

Here’s WGN’s full story, “City speed cameras: Keeping kids safe or just a money maker?

14 Responses to WGN News: Are Speed Cameras About Safety Or Revenue?

  1. Pete says:

    Is there even a need to ask? The evidence is all around. I’d be surprised if there could be anything found to suggest that safety was even considered in the selection of the camera sites and program operation. Revenue is the only possible driver.

  2. Jeff says:

    Nothing new here.

    When Rahm first proposed his speed camera scheme, the data he submitted to support the need for cameras was a total fabrication, according to a Tribune investigation. Even Rahm had to admit the data he tried to pass off was inaccurate.

    Moreover, there is no explanation for the selection of camera sites like the one on Irving Park Road near Challenger Park (with zero pedestrian traffic along Graceland cemetery), except for the fact that this is a natural speed trap. Drivers naturally speed up as traffic flows faster in this stretch of Irving Park Road, since: (1) there are no businesses or residences along this stretch of Irving Park Road; and (2) the road goes from 1 lane to 2 lanes as you drive east past Clark Street.

  3. Z28 says:

    There are a lot of places in Chicago with zero pedestrians, and guess what? Now those places have speed cameras.

  4. Saucexx says:

    It’s clear from the cameras I’ve seen that they were placed to maximize revenue not safety. Their placement around parks seem to be at the fringes of the parks and schools, particularly if there’s a truck route in the proximity. What they don’t seem to be near is the pedestrians and school kids they’re actually supposed to be helping.

  5. Hey Rahm if you really gave a shit about kid pedestrian safety you’d teach it in school.

  6. Simona says:

    I received a ticket at 11pm from a speed trap camera located in a park area address 5471 W Higgins, Chicago Il. This area is a park where this camera is located. If he park closed at 9:00 pm., is it legal to receive a ticket even though the park close at 9:00pm.?

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    What’s the EXACT time of the speed camera ticket?

    If the ticket was actually issued at 11 PM, it should be contested and dismissed. Enforcement around parks runs from 6 AM until 11 PM. UNTIL 11 PM. If the ticket was issued at 11, that is past the time of enforcement and therefore NOT a valid ticket.

  8. SNN says:

    I got a speed camera ticket for going over the speed limit by 10 mph on Western Ave. near Addison in June on a weekday at 11:50 AM. I was going going 32 mph. The speed limit is 30mph. However, there is a 20 mph limit “when children are present”. Lane Tech is nearby but there is nothing in the speed camera photo that shows that any children were present. Under the law, I was going, at most, 2mph over the 30 mph limit but still got a $100 ticket for 10mph over. I wonder how many motorists at Western and Addison during the day go only 20 mph? The City says they don’t ticket unless its for 6 mph “over the posted speed limit” – how do the speed cameras determine it the usual 30mph posted limit or that “children are present” for the 20mph limit? I am not aware that there is any mechanism for that determination and the tickets are arbitrary or they are issuing literally thousands and thousand of tickets at that intersection every day based on the “children present” 20 mph limit. I contested the ticket on this basis and am waiting for a response. If my contest is denied I am considering a class action lawsuit.

  9. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    I’ve been in contact with several people who’ve been ticketed in school zones (some around Lane Tech).

    One of these people beat their two tickets because there were no children or in one case, no pedestrians in the video/photos.

    I’m worried that you contested by mail. Hopefully you win. Next time, fight it in person where your chances are better. Keep us posed on what happens.

  10. Jeff says:

    DC speed cameras fail to improve traffic safety:


    Yet another example of the Gabe Klein legacy at work.

  11. Jeff says:

    federal legislation on speed and red light cams

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