Tag Archives: Ald. Scott Waguespack

Aldermen Move To Remove Red Light, Speed Cameras By 2018

A sign warns drivers of speed camera enforcement ahead.

A sign warns drivers of speed camera enforcement ahead.

A group of aldermen is hoping to force a vote at Wednesday’s City Council meeting on an ordinance that would spell the end of both red-light and speed cameras by 2018.

The ordinance, introduced by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) in early October, has been languishing in the Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Public Way since then.

But now, Sawyer and a handful of aldermen plan on using a parliamentary maneuver to bring it to the floor of the Council for debate and vote on Wednesday.

“We were hoping we would go through the committee process,” said Brian Sleet, Sawyer’s chief of staff. “While were talking about these other ideas for reforming the cameras, we should discuss a realistic way to address these policies. We want to discuss it and see where our colleagues stand.”

Sleet said Sawyer’s plan is a responsible way to rid the city of the unpopular automated traffic cameras by giving the city time to find alternative streams of revenue to replace the tens of millions of dollars in fines generated every year and allow vendor contracts to expire as scheduled. The aim is to end both the red-light and speed camera programs by 2018.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Emanuel Flier Attacks Rival Fioretti For Parking Meter Votes

Fioretti meter flier

A recent flier from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s election campaign is attacking Ald. Bob Fioretti for his votes on the parking meter lease deal.

Back in 2008, Ald. Fioretti voted for the former Mayor Richard Daley’s infamous parking meter lease deal–an agreement that sold the city’s metered parking spaces for a fraction of their worth.

It was a vote he regretted and which inspired him to vote against a revision of the meter deal that Emanuel pushed in 2013. The revised deal did get Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to drop tens of millions of dollars in claims against the city. But in return, Emanuel allowed most metered spaces to extend enforcement hours until 10PM–a two hour increase, and meters in River North to be fed until midnight.

But now, according to the Chicago Reader, a mailer attacks Fioretti for both his original vote for the meter deal and now his vote against the revisions.

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.

A Bike Riding Writer Explores The Politics Of Potholes

CDOT crews fill potholes on the North Side in 2013.

CDOT crews fill potholes on the North Side in 2013.

Is there a relationship between politics and potholes?

Chicago Reader columnist Ben Jorvasky wanted to find out.

Jorvasky, an avid bike rider, took a long ride into several areas of the city to see if his theory that aldermanic allies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel had less potholes on roads in their wards than aldermen who aren’t as cooperative with the powers that be.

Riding through mayoral critic Ald. Scott Waguespack’s 32nd Ward and into Ameya Pawar’s 47th and ending up in Joe Moore’s 49th, both loyalists to the Emanuel regime, he doesn’t seem to see a distinction to the state of streets in the city–they all suck writes Jorvasky.

Waguespack Files Resolution, Demands Red Light Camera Hearings

Alderman Scott Waguespack (323nd).

Alderman Scott Waguespack (323nd).

Ald. Scott Waguespack is  not screwing around this time–he wants formal hearings on the city’s red light cameras.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Waguespack filed a resolution with 19 c0-sponsors demanding hearings on Chicago’s beleaguered red light camera program.

“The resolution simply says you got to have a hearing on this,” explained Waguespack.

Hearings would be held in the Committee on Transportation and the Public Way.

Waguespack and a handful of other alderman asked for hearings over a year ago after a Chicago Tribune story revealed an alleged bribery scheme between the city’s RLC vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems and former Chicago Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner John Bills. Bills has since been federally indicted.

At the time the aldermen felt it was time to give the program a hard look–but were ignored.

“We represent the people,” said an agitated Waguespack. “They said ‘go shove it to the people of the City of Chicago. It took a federal grand jury to get things going.”

Mayor Introduces Ordinance To Restore Some Paid Sunday Meters

But Alderman Michele Smith Changes Position To Keep Free Sundays Meters In Most Of Lincoln Park.

Business owners in Lincoln Park want paid metered parking reinstated on Sundays in their neighborhood.

Paid Sunday metered parking will likely be returning to some neighborhoods, but only portions of Lincoln Park.

Nearly a year after Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised some neighborhoods could keep paid Sunday parking meters, he introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting that would do just that.

Portions of neighborhoods like Bucktown, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, and Jefferson Park will be seeing a switch back to paid Sunday metered parking perhaps as soon as May. The proposed ordinance needs to make it out of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety and into the full council for a vote.

There are a few minor changes to times of metered parking on Sundays which would have meters operating from 10 AM until 8 PM. In addition, metered areas which wraparound from a commercial street onto a residential street will still remain free.

But the ordinance seems a long time coming. This time last year, Emanuel was pressing City Council members to accept his renegotiated parking meter lease deal to give the city the ability to control costs from streets closures and other issues which allowed Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to bill the city millions of dollars for lost revenue.

The Mystery Of The Missing Orange Safety Cones

Who’s stealing the safety cones?

That’s what Ald. Scott Waguespack wants to know.

He’s been using the bright orange cones to mark where the worst potholes are located to warn drivers not to drive directly into one and end up at the closest auto repair garage.

Lincoln Park Businesses, Aldermen Frustrated by Delay in Restoring Paid Sunday Meters

Business owners in Lincoln Park want paid metered parking reinstated on Sundays in their neighborhood.

Business owners in Lincoln Park want paid metered parking reinstated on Sundays in their neighborhood.

When will free Sunday parking end along busy retail streets in Chicago?

That’s what the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce wants to know after it sent an email to its members this week, entitled “Call to Action: End Free Sunday Parking at Meters.”

Lincoln Park business owners and the chamber — as well as stores and aldermen in other areas — have been trying to reverse the change to free Sunday parking in their neighborhood for the past several months. They believe the policy — which Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed for when the city renegotiated the 75-year parking-meter lease deal last Spring — is hurting the bottom lines of area businesses, because there isn’t enough turnover in the parking spaces outside their shops.

“Frustrated sounds right,” chamber spokesman Padraic Swanton said Friday. “The general tone is, ‘Where are we and what happened’? We thought we were moving ahead on this.”

Nearly a year ago, during hearings on the renegotiated contract with the private company that runs the meters, Chicago Parking Meters LLC, aldermen with busy retail businesses corridors in neighborhoods like Lakeview, Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lincoln Park were told their wards could eventually retain paid Sunday parking to keep customer turnover high.

Read more at DNA Info.

Mayor Claims Meter Deal Remix Showing Savings For Drivers

Ald. Waguespack Slams Report As ‘Flawed & Misleading’

meterfail600Drivers are benefiting from free Sunday parking–one of the major changes contained within the renegotiated parking meter lease pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last year.

But Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd), the meter lease deal’s most vocal critic, says Mayor Emanuel’s analysis is “flawed and misleading”.

The Mayor’s press release touts a study which says drivers saved $8.7 million from parking for free at parking meters on Sundays while revenues from extended evening hours at meters have resulted in just $6.6 million–about $800,000 less than expected.

This translates into a net savings for drivers of $2.1 million according to the Mayor’s Office.

“This is a bad deal that we couldn’t make go away, but we did make it a little less bad for the next 70 years while adding some breaks for Chicagoans along the way,” Mayor Emanuel said in a press release issued Wednesday morning.

Complaints Of Slow Snow Removal Piling Up Say Aldermen

Many snow covered side streets remain unplowed according to residents and some aldermen. Photo credit: John O'Brien/DNA Info.

Many snow covered side streets remain unplowed according to residents and some aldermen. Photo credit: John O’Brien/DNA Info.

Five days after  snow from a major storm stopped falling, some Chicago aldermen and residents are charging the city has done a poor job clearing snow from side streets.

Thursday, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) initially claimed a “salt shortage” has led to “dangerous” conditions in his ward. Sawyer contended in a news release he thought the “crippled” side streets in his ward would be cleared as temperatures rose on Thursday, but was “shocked” to learn of a salt shortage that allowed trucks to dump only one load of slush-melting salt onto side streets.

But a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation denied that the city was facing a salt shortage and said that as temperatures rise, the existing salt on the roadways will start working better.

“We have more than 100,000 tons of salt, and our supply is being replenished daily. We have multiple vendors and will have enough salt for the winter season,” said the spokeswoman, Molly Poppe.

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said his office is hearing complaints — “two to three hundred calls over the past few days.”

Waguespack said he believe that city plows waited too long before starting on the side streets so by the time the trucks got off the main routes the hard-packed snow had turned to thick ice.

Read more at DNA Info.

UPDATE: By early evening, Sawyer had softened his position according to ABC 7 News.