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Category Archives: Red Light Cameras

WBEZ Finds Chicago’s Yellow Lights Not Engineered Properly

In a devastating report on how the timing of yellow lights are set at Chicago’s traffic signals, WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef finds the city has not been following tried and true traffic engineering standards.

While none of what Yousef finds is news to well informed Chicago drivers, her research does a great job of explaining the issue.

In Yousef’s researh, she found that virtually no government entities set the yellow light times at virtually all traffic signals the same length–three seconds.

A recent poll says just 6% of 200 responding transportation agencies set amber times using this one size fits all approach.

Mayoral Candidate Calls For Moratorium On Red Light Cameras

Mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti. (Photo credit: DNA Info).

Mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti. (Photo credit: DNA Info).

Mayoral candidate Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd), in light of the just released Inspector General report, is calling for a moratorium on all new red light camera installations.

The Office of the Inspector General released a report Friday highly critical of how the city has managed Chicago’s red light camera program.

“The lack of oversight from the administration is appalling, and hopefully
this IG report will point CDOT in the right direction,” said Fioretti in a statement. “We know from experience that privatization does not always mean that companies will do right by Chicagoans, and the administration failed us yet again in their obligation. I am calling for an immediate moratorium on any new red light cameras.”

Tribune Spotlights Short Yellow Issue With Red Light Tickets

red_light_cameraIn a recent report, the Chicago Tribune digs deeper into revelations many Chicago red light camera tickets have been issued despite being a tenth of a second under the three second federal standard.

The Tribune story expands upon the issue originally reported at the Expired Meter, when anti-camera activist Barnet Fagel was fighting a handful of RLC tickets and the Administrative Law Judge hearing the case dismissed two tickets based on short yellow light times.

The ALJ stated on the record that he was dismissing many tickets because of the sub-3 second yellow times.

“We’re having a big problem with these yellow lights,” Sussman said during the hearing in July. “Sixty to 70 percent are coming up under three seconds.”

Tiny Percentage Of Suspicious Red Light Tickets Get Tossed

red_light_cameraJust 126 of the nearly 16,000 Chicago red light camera tickets that were issued during  mysterious spikes in RLC violations several years ago were found to be issued improperly according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

After sifting through the data of millions of red light tickets the Chicago Tribune broke a story about unexplained spikes in violations which would start and then abruptly stop. The Chicago Department of Transportation had no idea of the existence of these tremendous explosions in ticketing until the newspaper brought it to their attention and no explanations for why they happened.

After the story exploded in the media Mayor Rahm Emanuel instructed the Department of Finance to send letters to the thousands of drivers ticketed during these flurries of violations, to allow them to request for a review of the video ticket.

ABC 7: Speed Cameras Issues Mayor’s Motorcade 8 More Tickets

Despite a pledge his motorcade drivers would slow down and obey the law in late spring, ABC 7 News is reporting the vehicles used to transport Mayor Rahm Emanuel have racked up another eight more red light or speed camera violations.

Four months ago ABC 7 reported the Mayor’s two vehicle motorcade had been ticketed nearly two dozen times for speed camera, red light camera and parking tickets.

At the time the Mayor said that no one was above the law and that he is instructing his drivers to slow down. But less than an hour after he uttered those words one of his vehicles was caught on camera near Douglas Park going 12 miles over the speed limit.

Here’s ABC 7′s full report, “I-Team: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s motorcade caught by city cameras – again.

Ex-Redflex CEO Pleads Not Guilty In Bribery Scandal

Redflex logoOn Wednesday, former CEO for Redflex Traffic Systems Karen Finley pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of bribery and fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in federal court.

According to the Associated Press, each count carries up to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Finley is the third of three charged by federal authorities in connection with an alleged bribery scheme . Allegedly Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars via a middle man to the person who oversaw Chicago’s red light camera program in return for securing and maintaining the city RLC contract.

Former Chicago Department of Transportation manager John Bills, who is also under indictment and pleaded not guilty the week before, allegedly was given cash, gifts, tickets to sporting events, a car, computers and even a condo in Arizona (the home state for Redflex’s U.S. division) for greasing the skids for the red light camera company.

Players In Red Light Camera Bribery Scheme Plead Not Guilty

red_light_cameraNot guilty.

That’s the plea former city manager John Bills and his long time friend, Martin O’Malley gave in U.S. Federal Court on Tuesday according to the Chicago Tribune.

Bills, the long time Chicago Department of Transportation deputy commissioner who oversaw the city’s red light camera program, is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to help Redflex Traffic Systems win and keep the lucrative city contract.

O’Malley is alleged to have been the conduit who funneled most of the $2 million paid to him from Redflex to Bills.

Alleged Red Light Camera Bagman Cooperating With Feds

Redflex logoMartin O’Malley was recently indicted for his involvement in the Redflex Traffic Systems bribery scandal in Chicago.

But he’s already cooperating with federal authorities, according to the Chicago Tribune.

O’Malley allegedly funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Redflex to John Bills, the former Chicago Department of Transportation deputy commissioner who oversaw the city’s red light camera program.

Bills allegedly worked to insure Redflex won the city’s RLC contract in 2003 but then sought quid pro quo. Federal prosecutors say O’Malley was the conduit between Redflex and Bills–a friend of O’Malley’s.

Tribune Poll Finds 2 Of 3 Chicagoans Hate Red Light Cameras

Photo enforced signChicagoans do not like red light cameras.

That’s one of the key findings of a Chicago Tribune poll which found that two out of three people or 66% of those polled think red light cameras are a bad idea and 92% believe something must be done to change or eliminate the program.

The Trib poll was conducted after the newspaper published a story that revealed several dozen RLC intersections showed mysterious and dramatic spikes in ticketing jumping from a handful of tickets a day to literally hundreds. In all cases the enforcement spikes disappeared after days or weeks just as mysteriously as they began. Perhaps the most eyebrow raising part is the Department of Transportation was not aware of the issue nor had an explanation.

While nearly everyone (92%) believes the program needs to be changed, only 45% of those polled thinks the program should be eliminated while another 47% thinks the program needs better management and oversight.

Anti-Cam Protest Planned For Belmont & Lake Shore Drive

Jeff Black (foreground) and Scott Davis (background) pass out fliers attacking Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) for supporting speed cameras at a protest earlier in the summer.

Jeff Black (foreground) and Scott Davis (background) pass out fliers attacking Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) for supporting speed cameras.

The red light camera an Belmont and Lake Shore Drive is one of the city’s highest volume RLC intersections.

A combination of poor traffic engineering, a confusing multi-street intersection and an allegedly short yellow light, the red light camera there caught over 18,000 violators in 2012 and generated more than $1.5 million in revenue.

So the members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras thought this was a perfect place to hold a protest to bring their message of ridding the city of red light and speed cameras to motorists Saturday, August 16th.

Demonstrators will be there passing out fliers and holding up signs from 11 AM to 2 PM. Other interested motorists are invited to attend.