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South Side drivers will be happy to know, the facelift to the Kedzie Street Bridge is finished and open to vehicular traffic according to DNA Info.
The city spent $5 million to give the bridge which spans the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal between 31st and 36th a new concrete roadway deck, sidewalks, floor beams and bracing as well as repaired girders.
The bridge was originally build in 1909, reconstructed in 1969 before this most recent work began this past March. The bridge was closed to all traffic since June.
Here’s DNA Info’s full report, “Kedzie Avenue Bridge Reopens to Traffic.”
No one seems to be obeying the speed limit on the Illinois Tollway system according to the Chicago Tribune.
The newspaper reported Sunday that traffic studies indicate that, depending on exactly which stretch of the tollway that was being studied, 91-98% of cars are traveling faster than the posted 55 mph speed limit and just 1 in 20 vehicles are at or below the speed limit.
Perhaps one of the most interesting metrics from the data is when traffic engineers calculated the 85 percentile speeds of vehicles on the tollway, it comes up between 71-75 mph.
This revelation is well timed as a law to raise the speed limit on all Illinois expressways to 70 mph is set to take effect on January 1st.
Lead-footed drivers that drive through or by Humboldt Park (3100 W. Augusta Blvd.), Douglas Park (2900 W. Ogden Ave.) and Major Taylor Trail Park (445 W. 127th St.) need to slow down or pay up.
The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday that speed cameras at those three parks will stop issuing warnings and begin issuing $35 and $100 tickets beginning on Saturday, November 30th.
But, despite the city’s legal authority to issue tickets for drivers going as low as 6 mph over the speed limit, CDOT says it will only issue tickets for vehicles traveling 10 mph or more over the posted limit. That threshold will be lowered over time according to CDOT, but no firm time frame for this was given.
Record numbers of drivers could have a rude awakening Sunday morning when the city’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban starts.
That’s because the ban begins on a weekend this year, just like it did last year when far more cars were towed on the first two nights of the ban than during any year since 2007, including many revelers out for a night at the bars. While city officials couldn’t say for sure, they believed the two-day opening total was a record number.
But this year there could be even more unhappy drivers, city officials acknowledge, for two reasons:
• With the ban starting at 3 a.m. Sunday, at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, many visitors from out of town might be unfamiliar with the prohibition on parking on 107 miles of arterial streets, which runs till 7 a.m. daily from Dec. 1-April 1. The ban is a precautionary measure in case the city needs to plow the streets after a snowfall, but it remains in effect even if it doesn’t snow.
• The city started offering free parking at metered spots in most neighborhoods on Sundays earlier this year, which has led many people to simply leave their cars parked from late Saturday to early Monday, many business officials said.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
Perhaps the biggest problem will be traffic for motorists trying to exit the city. The big travel day is Wednesday according to AAA Chicago which says 37% off all holiday traffic will take place then.
AAA estimates 2.08 million people will be traveling by car this Thanksgiving, a mild decrease of 1.3% compared to last year.
“While the economy continues to improve, the sluggish pace of the recovery is creating uncertainty in the minds of some consumers and therefore AAA is projecting a slight decline in the number of Thanksgiving travelers this year,” said AAA Regional President Brad Roeber.
The key to avoiding traffic is getting an early start on your travels. The earlier the better because by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, traffic should be pretty brutal on Chicago expressways.
It was all about “the kids.”
This has been a mantra of Emanuel over the past two years.
From the its conception and to the present, Mayor Emanuel has touted the speed camera program or as the city calls it, the “Children’s Safety Zone Program”, as a way to slow down traffic and use speeding fines to finance programs for children, hire crossing guards and police and pay for traffic safety improvements like painting crosswalks and improved signage.
While the first wave of speed camera tickets have just barely gone out in the mail, most likely the city has collected little if any revenue from the speed cameras thus far the Chicago Tribune is claiming there’s no item in the Mayor’s 2014 budget called the “Children’s Fund.”
A passenger in a car shot a short video of a clearly confused bike rider on a Divvy bike pedaling down Lake Shore Drive–obviously a dangerous proposition on the eight lane lake front expressway.
While the video has gone viral, racking up nearly 90,000 views, some people are angry at the tone of the mocking commentary in the video as well as the comments about the video on YouTube.
Drivers honked, waved and some even stopped to sign petitions in the 4200 block of North Foster Avenue Saturday afternoon in the shadow of the city’s very first speed camera adjacent to Gompers Park.
A small group of about 15 protestors from the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, along with members of the Cook County Campaign for Liberty and National Motorists Associationlined both sides of Foster holding signs and waving to the many honking cars from 12-3 Saturday.
“Lots of people are waving and honking in support,” said organization founder Mark Wallace, a real estate developer and radio host of WVON 1690 AM. “We’ve only had two people in favor of the cameras but most people support our position.”
The group, based out of the city’s South Side, is mounting a petition campaign to get a referendum on the ballot to stop the city’s 10-year old red light camera program and brand new speed camera program.
On Wednesday at City Hall, Commissioner Gabe Klein went through his last Chicago Department of Transportation city budget hearings.
Klein announced his resignation late last week and will leave his post at the end of this month.
So during the nearly eight hours of hearings City Council members praised, questioned and sometimes scolded Klein and his staff about a range of transportation related issues including the city’s brand new speed camera program.
Klein and CDOT Deputy Commissioner Scott Kubly both said the first 50 speed camera locations will finished being installed in early 2014. This would be followed by the installation an additional 50 speed camera enforcement sites by the end of 2014 according to CDOT documents prepared for aldermen.
This will give Chicago a total of 100 speed enforcement locations with over 200 speed cameras, making the city’s automated speed camera enforcement program the largest in the U.S. by the end of next year. Washtington DC, where Klein previously served as Director the DC Department of Transportation, currently operates the nation’s largest automated speed enforcement program with close to 150 cameras.
Western Springs Police Say RLC’s Reduce Accidents, Though Violations Rise
There are some very odd numbers coming out of west suburban Western Springs according to the Doings of Western Springs newspaper.
Western Springs police have data showing that crashes have decreased at two red light intersections there, but alarmingly red light violations have not fallen but are going up!
Illinois Department of Transportation data does show crashes decreased between 2009 to 2012 at the two intersections. However, at least part of the decrease could be attributed to the way IDOT counts crashes which was changed, coincidentally in 2009. But the Western Springs police nor the newspaper mentions this inconvenient fact.