Category Archives: Red Light Cameras
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s motorcade is at it again.
News website Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown reports the mayor’s two car motorcade has been caught by red light cameras running the red five times since November.
Illinois State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) introduced a bill in Springfield Thursday according to the Daily Herald.
McSweeney cited recent reporting by the Chicago Tribune which strongly questioned the effectiveness of red light cameras on reducing crashes and improving traffic safety.
“Red-light cameras primarily serve as a revenue enhancement tool at great cost to taxpayers,” McSweeney was quoted.
At Wednesday’s Chicago City Council meeting Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) introduced an ordinance that would put pedestrian countdown timers and increase the yellow light timing at every red light camera intersection according to the Sun-Times.
Beale, Chairman of the Transportation Committee, believes the countdown timers help drivers see how many seconds are left before the traffic light turns yellow allowing them to either stop or speed up to avoid a $100 red light ticket.
So he wants to move it to Las Vegas.
That’s what lawyers for the former Chicago Department of Transportation official who initiated and oversaw the city’s red light camera program according to the Chicago Tribune.
Bills is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts for allegedly making sure Redflex Traffic Systems won and retained the lucrative contract for the Chicago red light camera program.
In a court filing, Bills’ attorney Nishay Sanan wrote:
Six weeks ahead of Chicago’s 2015 municipal elections, nearly 50 candidates for alderman or mayor have signed a pledge to vote to eliminating the city’s red light and speed camera enforcement programs if elected.
Anti-camera group, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, sent a letter to every candidate running for alderman or mayor in the upcoming election asking them to sign their pledge to “Abolish Unfair Photo Enforcement in Chicago”.
A total of 46 candidates from 30 Wards have signed the group’s pledge which includes six sitting alderman: Bob Fioretti (2nd), Pat Dowell (3rd), Leslie Hairston (5th), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Anthony Beale (9th, Chairman of Transportation Committee) and Toni Foulkes (15th running in 16th).
Scott Davis Takes Pledge To ‘Ban The Cams’ If Elected Alderman
Scott Davis, candidate for 44th ward alderman, is using Chicago’s red light cameras as a way to raise money for his election campaign.
Davis, who’s been a driving force here to eliminate the city’s speed camera and red light camera programs kicked off his “Ban The Cams Money Bomb” online fundraiser this past Monday.
For the past two years, Davis has organized anti-camera protests all over the city and has spent the last year as an activist Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.
In the wake of recent Chicago Tribune’s reporting on research showing a failure of Chicago’s red light cameras to improve traffic safety, two candidates for mayor have called for an end to the program.
The Tribune commissioned an academic study of crash data at Chicago red light camera locations which found that the city exaggerated the safety improvements from the cameras and while dangerous T-bone crashes did go down by 15%, rear-end crashes went up 22%–numbers which have caused the researchers to question if there is any traffic safety benefits from the program.
At City Hall Monday morning, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras held a press conference to again call for an end to the program based on the Tribune report.
Mayoral candidate Ald. Bob Fioretti joined the group’s director Mark Wallace in condemning the camera program and said he would end the program by April 15th if he was elected mayor. He plans to introduce an ordinance to stop the program next month.
That’s the main finding from an extensive research study of Chicago’s red light camera system commissioned by the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune teamed up with researchers from the Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, who analyzed crash data at RLC intersections before and after the cameras were installed.
The city claims the cameras have reduced dangerous right angle crashes by 47%.
But the Tribune study refutes the city’s numbers saying their analysis shows only a 15% decrease in injury causing T-bone crashes, but a 22% increase in rear-end crashes that caused injuries. At best, the researchers numbers indicate red light cameras have provided no improvement in overall traffic safety or at worst a 5% increase in the number of crashes that cause injuries.
A legal challenge to Chicago’s red light cameras was dismissed Thursday by the Illinois Supreme Court — a result that came about after two judges recused themselves and the remaining four were split on the matter.
“In this case, two Justices of this Court have recused themselves and the remaining members of the Court are divided so that it is not possible to secure the constitutionally required concurrence of four judges for a decision,” the short decision states. “Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed. The effect of this dismissal is the same as an affirmance by an equally divided court of the decision under review but is of no precedential value.”
The class action lawsuit argued that all Chicago red light tickets issued between 2003 and 2006, before a state law was passed to allow red light camera enforcement in eight counties — Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, Will, McHenry and St. Clair — were invalid.
The lawsuit also contended every red light camera ticket issued in the city beyond 2006 is invalid because Chicago never drafted a new ordinance after the state enacted its red light camera law in 2006.
The city has always argued it had the right to establish the program under home rule authority.
Tuesday the court’s website announced a ruling on the case will be issued Thursday morning.
The court heard oral arguments on Keating v. City of Chicago this past May at the historic Ottawa Courthouse.
Attorney Patrick Keating filed the class action suit in 2010 in Cook County Circuit Court but it got dismissed. This ruling was upheld by the Appellate Court in 2013 and then promptly appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.