Tag Archives: CDOT

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.”

State Street Bridge Closed All Week For Riverwalk Construction

A small flotilla of boats passes through the open State Street Bridge on the Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton, © 2006.

A small flotilla of boats passes through the open State Street Bridge on the Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton, © 2006.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Better late than never.

The State Street Bridge over the Chicago River downtown will be closed all this week for construction work to be completed on a walkway for the Chicago Riverwalk according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The bridge closed to traffic Monday, July 14th at 6 AM and will reopen on Monday, July 21st at 6 !M.

Both the Clark Street and Dearborn Street bridges have been closed in past weeks for the same project to allow for support to be installed for the new walkway.

The city is extending the current Riverwalk pedestrian path which will, when finished, stretch from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street. The Riverwalk currently terminates at Franklin Street.

Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton.

Public Weighs In On Rehabbing Lake Shore Drive At Meeting

Cars back up at rush hour at the Belmont Avenue exit on northbound Lake Shore Drive. Photo credit: NorthLakeShoreDrive.org

Cars back up at rush hour at the Belmont Avenue exit on northbound Lake Shore Drive. Photo credit: NorthLakeShoreDrive.org

Tuesday July 8th, the Drake Hotel played host for a meeting to “Redefine The Drive” to elicit the public’s input on what changes should be made on a planned $1 billion facelift of North Lake Shore Drive.

The Illinois Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Transportation plan a dramatic rehab and perhaps reinvention of the seven mile stretch of LSD between Grand and Hollywood. The agencies say due to the age of the roadway it will need to be rebuilt.

The project wouldn’t even break ground until 2019 or even 2020, with costs estimated to be around $1 billion–a hefty sum for a city and state which are both close to insolvency.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, all sorts of ideas were suggested including: a double-decker configuration with an upper and lower LSD; a light rail line down the middle of LSD; or dedicated express bus lanes.

New Speed Cameras Coming to 13 Locations Across the City

Contractors bring in the electrical power for a new speed camera near Irving Park and Clark Street.

Contractors bring in the electrical power for a new speed camera near Irving Park and Clark Street.

Slow down drivers: More speed cameras are scheduled to go in across the city soon, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The city announced late last week the locations of 12 new camera locations around schools and parks in six area of the city over the next few months.

A 13th location near Calumet Park, in the 3500 block of East 95th Street, was announced last month. The camera was installed in late June and began its 30-day warning period on June 30.