Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Committee for Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, despite many questions from city council members during special hearings on the city’s controversy generating red light cameras, aldermen never really got answers to many of their questions.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson and Scheinfeld were invited by committee chairman Walter Burnett (27th) to testify Tuesday. Ferguson gave an oral summary of the Office of the Inspector General’s recent investigation on enforcement anomalies reported in the media. According to Ferguson, it was the first time in 25 years the Inspector General has been asked to testify at a city council committee hearing.
Scheinfeld’s opening statement was a history and defense of the city’s RLC program, as well as an answer to the findings and recommendations of the OIG.
The commissioner claimed, based on Illinois Department of Transportation crash data, crashes at red light camera intersections have decreased 43% and fatalities were down 23% between 2005 and 2012 or 225 fewer crashes per year at those intersections.
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.”
Allegedly, Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to former city manager John Bills–the man who oversaw the city’s red light camera program–with O’Malley as the conduit.
While O’Malley originally made a plea of not guilty when he was indicted earlier in the year in federal court.
However, according to the Sun-Times court documents indicate O’Malley has been cooperating with the feds and is planning to change his plea to guilty in December.
O’Malley’s cooperation probably puts additional pressure on Bills and former Redflex CEO Karen Finlay who both entered pleas of not guilty to their indictment.
Here’s the full story, “Key player in red light camera scandal plans to plead guilty.”
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.
Mayoral candidate Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd), in light of the just released Inspector General report, is calling for a moratorium on all new red light camera installations.
The Office of the Inspector General released a report Friday highly critical of how the city has managed Chicago’s red light camera program.
“The lack of oversight from the administration is appalling, and hopefully
this IG report will point CDOT in the right direction,” said Fioretti in a statement. “We know from experience that privatization does not always mean that companies will do right by Chicagoans, and the administration failed us yet again in their obligation. I am calling for an immediate moratorium on any new red light cameras.”
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.
In 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.”
Just 126 of the nearly 16,000 Chicago red light camera tickets that were issued during mysterious spikes in RLC violations several years ago were found to be issued improperly according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times.
After sifting through the data of millions of red light tickets the Chicago Tribune broke a story about unexplained spikes in violations which would start and then abruptly stop. The Chicago Department of Transportation had no idea of the existence of these tremendous explosions in ticketing until the newspaper brought it to their attention and no explanations for why they happened.
After the story exploded in the media Mayor Rahm Emanuel instructed the Department of Finance to send letters to the thousands of drivers ticketed during these flurries of violations, to allow them to request for a review of the video ticket.
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.
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.