Tag Archives: CDOT

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.

IG Report Slams Red Light Camera Program For Poor Management

A sign on Irving Park Road warns drivers of the red light camera at at Kedzie.

A sign on Irving Park Road warns drivers of the red light camera at at Kedzie.

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.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

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.”

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.

30-Day Warning Periods Begin At 4 New Speed Camera Sites

A sign warns drivers of speed camera enforcement ahead.

A sign warns drivers of speed camera enforcement ahead.

Speed cameras at three new locations will begin issuing warning notices starting Friday, September 5th according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The 30-day period will begin for recently installed speed cameras located near Taft High School (5739 N. Northwest Hwy. and 6510 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.), Frazier Elementary School (4042 W. Roosevelt Rd. and the 1100 block of S. Pulaski Rd. and Mulberry Park (6510 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.).

Earlier in the week on Tuesday, September 2nd, a speed camera near Benito Juarez High School (1440 W Cermak Rd.) also began it’s 30-day warning phase.

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.

Alderman: Milwaukee Avenue Protected Bike Lane Proposal Dead

A photo mockup of what the proposed protected bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue would have looked like. Photo credit: CDOT

A photo mockup of what the proposed protected bike lanes on Milwaukee Avenue would have looked like. Photo credit: CDOT

The protected bike lanes proposed for Milwaukee Avenue on the city’s Northwest Side are dead, according to a spokesperson for Alderman John Arena (45th).

DNA Info reports the announcement that the controversial idea to remove a lane of traffic in each direction and install protected bike lanes had lost support of Arena.

The alderman had originally supported this proposal by the Chicago Department of Transportation over two other concepts.

“It just wasn’t going to be practical,” Arena’s spokesperson Owen Brugh told 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.

State Street Bridge Closed 10 Days For Riverwalk Construction

Graphic courtesy of CDOT.

Graphic courtesy of CDOT.

Starting Wednesday, the State Street Bridge will be closed to all traffic for 10 days to allow for construction work according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The bridge will be placed in the up position to allow for work connected to the Riverwalk construction project until August 23rd.

A pedestrian path is being constructed on the south bank of the of the Chicago River from State Street to Lake Street to link to the current Riverwalk which extends all the way to Lake Shore Drive.

All bus, bike, pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic is being detoured during the week and a half of work.

City Caves To Pressure, Will Review 9000 Red Light Camera Tickets

Scheinfeld at press conference

CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld speaks at a crosswalk enforcement press conference in early July.

Since Sunday’s Chicago Tribune story reporting mysterious spikes in red light camera violations several years ago, there’s been pressure from aldermen and the media for a response from City Hall.

Late Wednesday,  Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld responded to the controversy with testimony in front of the city council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.

“The Mayor and CDOT take very seriously the validity of and public confidence in all of our safety programs, including the red light camera program,” Scheinfeld said to begin her explanatory testimony. “Red light camera enforcement is designed to increase safety on Chicago’s streets. Cities across the country, and throughout the world, have been using such technology for many years.”