Category Archives: Red Light Cameras
The trial of the former managing deputy commissioner of the transportation department in Chicago, Illinois, will stay in the Windy City. Judge Virginia M. Kendall on Friday issued a ten-page order rejecting an attempt to move the trial of John Bills to Nevada on the grounds that Chicagoans are so blinded by their hatred of red light cameras that they would take their frustration out on him.
“John Bills cannot receive a fair trial in this town,” his attorney, Nishay K. Sawan had argued in January. “He is accused of being a central player in a transaction that helped bring about one of the most unpopular regulatory programs in the city of Chicago’s history — the red light cameras.”
Sawan noted that the Chicago Tribune has been “relentless and fierce” in its coverage of the bribery story since 2012, making it difficult to find a juror who has not formed an opinion about the world’s most lucrative red light camera program.
“As the city, Cook County, and many other municipalities in the Northern District of Illinois have been subject to this unending press, and as these localities make extensive use of these unpopular cameras, a jury is unlikely to be able to check its bias at the door and dispassionately decide solely on the basis of the evidence before it whether or not Mr. Bills is guilty,” Sawan wrote. “They are likely to express their dissatisfaction with the camera system by voting to convict the man who, as the government will argue, bears a great responsibility for the presence of those cameras in the city of Chicago.”
Judge Kendall did not buy the argument that twelve impartial individuals could not be found in a judicial district with eight million residents.
Good new and bad news.
First, the good news.
Ald. Willie Cochrane has seemingly convinced City Hall to install more digital speed indicator signs near speed camera locations around the city according to columnist Mark Konkol at DNA Info.
It seems Cochrane has been frustrated by the trio of speed cam violations he’s been issued near the University of Chicago and wants more warning for drivers. The digital signs give drivers real time feedback on the speed their traveling near speed cameras. While there have been a handful of these signs posted at a smattering of sites around the city, Konkol reports another 50 are going up. Cochrane’s hope is the speed data will slow drivers down enough to avoid a ticket.
When Allen Skillicorn was elected as a village trustee in suburban East Dundee, he won running on a platform to rid of that town’s red light camera program.
This week he unveiled a video and a website that he hopes will help him put a stake in the heart of East Dundee’s red light cameras.
State politicians in Florida have passed laws mandating longer yellow light times at red light camera intersections over the past few years.
Recent data from some Florida RLC intersections are showing tremendous decreases in red light violations after yellow light times have been lengthened according to The Newspaper.
On Tuesday, city lawmakers pushed ahead alleged “reforms” to the city’s red light camera program during a meeting of the City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.
These reforms include giving the public input on the location of new red light cameras, more flexible payment plans for scofflaws, the installation of pedestrian count down timers at RLC intersections currently without the devices and an academic review of the city’s red light camera program according to DNA Info.
These changes to the system were originally proposed by Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th), and head of the Transportation Committee, Tom Tunney (44th) and Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) several months ago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel jumped on the reform bandwagon after being forced into a runoff election by a then surging Jesus “Chuy” Garcia who made his opposition to the red light cameras part of his campaign.
A local group dedicated to eradicating red light and speed cameras from Chicago streets, was able to put a few notches in their political belt during the most recent municipal elections.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras sent their pledge to abolish red light and speed cameras to all city aldermanic and mayoral candidates prior to the election. Eight of those candidates who signed the group’s pledge, won city council seats for the next four years.
Nearly 50 candidates representing races in 30 wards, and four mayoral candidates signed the group’s pledge.
“We want to congratulate newly elected on their impressive victories and express our gratitude to these champions of reform on their election to the City Council” said Mark Wallace, Director of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.
The list includes three new aldermen–Susan Sadlowski-Garza, Derrick Curtis and David Moore as well as Toni Foulkes, an incumbent who was redistricted out of her current ward but won in the newly drawn 16th ward.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s motorcade was caught running a red light by a city red light camera–again.
This time around it’s two separate incidents both with pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists in view of the camera according to ABC 7′s Ben Bradley. In one case, the SUV in question drives down a street the wrong way after running the red.
This is the fourth report by ABC 7 since last May when Bradley first broke the story.
Spring weather will bring the crew from the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras out this weekend for their first protest of 2015.
The group will meet and protest at the intersection of 55th & Western Saturday morning at 11 AM.
This particular location has both red light camera enforcement and speed camera enforcement at nearby Gage Park.
A trio of motorists filed another lawsuit challenging the legality of Chicago’s red light and speed camera programs and are seeking class action status, according to the Sun-Times.
This lawsuit takes the unique approach of claiming the City of Chicago is not following the law when it comes to the noticing aspect of the program.
The first problem, the lawsuit states, is that the make (the name of the car manufacturer) is being listed at OTHR on all speed camera violations that have been mailed to lead footed drivers. However, the municipal code explicitly requires a specific make must be listed in order for the violation to be considered proper.
A group of aldermen is hoping to force a vote at Wednesday’s City Council meeting on an ordinance that would spell the end of both red-light and speed cameras by 2018.
The ordinance, introduced by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) in early October, has been languishing in the Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Public Way since then.
But now, Sawyer and a handful of aldermen plan on using a parliamentary maneuver to bring it to the floor of the Council for debate and vote on Wednesday.
“We were hoping we would go through the committee process,” said Brian Sleet, Sawyer’s chief of staff. “While were talking about these other ideas for reforming the cameras, we should discuss a realistic way to address these policies. We want to discuss it and see where our colleagues stand.”
Sleet said Sawyer’s plan is a responsible way to rid the city of the unpopular automated traffic cameras by giving the city time to find alternative streams of revenue to replace the tens of millions of dollars in fines generated every year and allow vendor contracts to expire as scheduled. The aim is to end both the red-light and speed camera programs by 2018.