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Category Archives: Red Light Cameras

Anti-Camera Protest Returns To Near West Side Saturday

Scott Davis hands out anti-red light camera fliers to interested drivers at a recent protest.

Scott Davis hands out anti-red light camera fliers to interested drivers at a protest over the summer.

Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, the local organization opposed to both red light and speed camera enforcement, is making a return trip to the 27th ward this Saturday.

The group has spent the past year protesting at traffic camera sites located in the wards of city council members who voted for the city’s speed camera program.

The group’s first protest this year was in Alderman Walter Burnett’s 27th ward. Burnett was a supporter of speed cameras.

But with the announcement that Burnett, Chairman of the Committee for Pedestrian and Traffic Safety will hold hearings about the problems with Chicago’s red light camera program, the group felt it appropriate to return.

Red Light Camera Hearing by Council Committee Set For Tuesday

A Xerox contractor installs a new red light camera at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road.

A Xerox contractor installs a new red light camera at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road.

After months of scandal, controversy and questions about Chicago’s red light camera program’s integrity the City Council will hold a hearing on Chicago’s red light camera program next week.

Alderman Walter Burnett (27th), Chairman of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, says he invited Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to present his office’s recent findings and recommendations at a hearing Tuesday, October 28th at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

“We need to make sure everything is fair and decent for everyone,” said Burnett. “We definitely don’t want people running the red light but at the same time things need to be fair.”

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) says it’s about time. He and members of the council’s Progressive Caucus have tried to get hearings several times over the past two years of controversy.

“It’s years overdue,” says Waguespack. “With all the issues surrounding the cameras aldermen knew something has to change with this program. It’s been building up for so many years. We’ve been waiting for this a long time.”

Read more at DNA Info.

Bag Man In Redflex Bribery Scandal Will Plead Guilty

Redflex logoAccording to court filings, Martin O’Malley was the man in the middle of the Redflex Traffic Systems bribery scandal.

Allegedly, Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to former city manager John Bills–the man who oversaw the city’s red light camera program–with O’Malley as the conduit.

While O’Malley originally made a plea of not guilty when he was indicted earlier in the year in federal court.

However, according to the Sun-Times court documents indicate O’Malley has been cooperating with the feds and is planning to change his plea to guilty in December.

O’Malley’s cooperation probably puts additional pressure on Bills and former Redflex CEO Karen Finlay who both entered pleas of not guilty to their indictment.

Here’s the full story, “Key player in red light camera scandal plans to plead guilty.”

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.