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A newly released report from Chicago’s Inspector General’s Office slams the city’s management of its red light camera program and its oversight of the program’s former vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems.
The report, released Friday morning, is the result of an OIG investigation into a series of mysterious spikes in red light camera tickets at a handful of intersections uncovered by the Chicago Tribune this past summer. The story spotlighted 12 intersections where ticketing would jump dramatically for a short period of time, then subside just as suddenly, resulting in nearly 16,000 questionable violations.
After the Tribune story broke, members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus wrote a letter to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson asking him to investigate these issues.
What the OIG investigation revealed was the Chicago Department of Transportation poorly managed the city’s red light camera program while Redflex was the vendor, allowing Redflex to avoid its contractual duties to report enforcement anomalies over the 11 years the company held the contract.
Redflex was banned from bidding on the new contract when an alleged bribery scandal came to light which implicated company management and a former CDOT manager who oversaw the program.
But on Thursday night, Stephen is filling in for Pete McMurray and he’s asked that goof the Parking Ticket Geek to stop by the studio to say hello and talk parking and driving in Chicago.
Tune in to WGN Radio 720 AM or stream it here.
With family and friends at her side, former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne was honored by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn renaming the Circle Interchange after the city’s only female mayor on Friday.
DNA Info reports the ceremony was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center East. UIC used to be called the “Circle Campus” due to its proximity to the interchange.
The now Jane Byrne Interchange, one of the most congested sections of roadways in the nation, is where the Dan Ryan (I-94), Kennedy (I-90) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways meet at Congress Parkway.
Here’s the full story, “‘Spaghetti Bowl’ Circle Interchange Renamed for Jane Byrne.”
If you’re not out on the town, hanging out in a VIP lounge at some hot nightclub sipping champagne, tune in WGN Radio That parking ticket savant The Parking Ticket Geek makes an appearance on WGN Radio 720 AM tonight.
The Geek joins the always hilarious Nick Digilio at 9:30 PM.
Tune in to AM 720 or stream it live here.
Fagel, a forensic video expert who helps drivers fight their red light camera and speed camera tickets came up against four lawyers from the city’s Law Department last week and was able to defeat two RLC tickets, but lost three speed camera tickets.
During the hearings Administrative Law Judge Robert Sussman told the city attorneys in the small hearing room that he’s dismissing many of the red light camera tickets he’s seeing.
“We’re having a big problem with these yellow lights,” Sussman said. “Sixty to 70 percent are coming up under three seconds.”
Today, Fagel was victorious again by demonstrating that the city’s own red light camera violation notices exhibit a yellow light time of 2.9 seconds–a tenth of a second under the federal, state, and city minimum for amber times.
According to Fagel the Administrative Law Judge immediately saw the problem and said “the city has failed to make it’s prima facie case,” and dismissed all three in a matter of minutes.
— Reid Wilkening (@rwilkening) August 7, 2014
One local bike rider is using Twitter to try to get some illegally parked cars ticketed.
Clement Robinson, who goes by the Twitter handle @CJettR, has been tweeting photos of motor vehicles parked in designated bike lanes using the hashtag “#enforce940060″, according to RedEye.
The hashtag refers to municipal code 9-40-060 which prohibits cars from parking or standing in a bike lane.
A Lincoln Park man filed a federal class action lawsuit Thursday seeking to recover the tens of millions of dollars Redflex Traffic Systems made while it was the city’s red light camera vendor from 2003 until early this year.
Matthew Falkner, who received a red light ticket for $100 in January 2013, alleges in the complaint that Redflex was only able to generate the over $100 million in revenue for the past 11 years because of an illegal bribery scheme.
In its allegations, the lawsuit lays out the story of a former employee of Redflex blowing the whistle on an improper relationship between the company and the Chicago Department of Transportation official in charge of the city’s RLC program. The complaint alleges it was the bribes given to the CDOT official which help secure the contract for Redflex.
That CDOT employee, John Bills, who has since left employment with the city, was recently indicted by the federal government for bribery in connection with Redflex. The U.S. Attorney’s office claims Bills received close to $600,000 in cash, gifts, cars, travel and a $177,000 condominium.
The class action lawsuit claims that 20-25% of each $100 fine paid for a red light camera violation went into Redflex’s pockets. Therefore, according to the court filing, due to the illegal nature of how the contract was awarded, these “ill-gotten gains” must be returned to the hundreds of thousands of drivers who paid their fines.
28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin has some problems with some of the city’s parking ticket policies including the $200 fine for failure to purchase and/or display a Chicago city sticker and payment plan options for drivers who can’t afford to pay their tickets. He discusses a few of his ideas in this short interview.
So, we’re dedicating an entire Ask the Parking Ticket Geek column to that sticky subject.
Dear Parking Ticket Geek,
So, I am one of those city sticker procrastinators. I just bought my sticker online today (June 27) and it says it could take up to 2 weeks to arrive.
Does this mean I can get a ticket before it arrives in the mail?
Don’t sweat it, Stephanie.
It’s the last Friday of the month–and that means the Critical Mass bikers will take place this evening.
On a beautiful June evening this means hundreds if not thousands of bikers will be on the streets and helping gridlock streets wherever the route may take them.
Be prepared to wait at intersections, much like as if a freight train was going by, for up to 20 minutes for the parade of bikes goes by.