Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras
Because two local activist groups are planning on spending the next year protesting and working to unseat any alderman who voted for the newly minted camera enforcement system.
Cook County Campaign for Liberty and Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras are teaming up to conduct weekly protests at speed camera and red light camera sites in wards where aldermen support this type of enforcement.
“We intend to hit as many of these aldermen as possible this summer,” explained Cook County Coordinator for Campaign for Liberty. “We want to identify local leaders in every part of the city and take action on these candidates and flip 12 aldermen to no votes so we can get 26 no votes on the city council (to repeal the speed camera program).”
Drivers appear to be hitting the brakes at red lights — leading to a big drop in tickets issued by red-light cameras, city officials said.
For the fifth year in a row, Chicago’s red-light camera program has seen a significant decline in the number of tickets issued.
The city’s 384 red-light cameras issued 579,460 tickets last year — 32,619 fewer than in 2012, representing a 5 percent decline, according to data obtained from the city’s Finance Department.
In fact, the data shows red-light camera tickets have been falling steadily since 2009, when 722,935 tickets were issued, a record at the time after a dramatic expansion of the program a year earlier. The 140,000-ticket drop represents a 20 percent decline since the peak five years ago.
Fewer tickets issued means a potential drop in fine revenue. At $100 a ticket, that translates to an estimated $3.2 million drop in fines issued between 2012 and 2013 and a $14.3 million drop in total fines issued since 2009.
Tribune Problem Solver columnist Jon Yates tried to get some justice for a driver who seemed to have received an unfair red light camera ticket a few weeks ago.
The driver took a right on red at the intersection of Austin Avenue and Irving Park Road and seemed to have barely come to a complete stop before proceeding to turn right.
A red light ticket was issued and the driver, who contends he stopped, contested by mail and lost.
That’s where Yates came into the picture. Despite his best efforts, the city held its ground and refused to reverse the decision of the Administrative Law Judge who ruled against the driver.
The driver stopped.
That’s what Barnet Fagel ascertained when he looked at the video of a driver who was given a red light camera ticket by Chicago after he allegedly took a right on red without stopping.
The minor controversy was sparked by a story by the Tribune’s Problem Solver columnist Jon Yates.
Fagel took it upon himself to analyze the driver’s video to see if he actually stopped.
“He stopped,” says Barnet Fagel. “He definitely came to a complete stop. The first time he tries to stop, but doesn’t come to a complete stop until he pulled up past the stop bar to check oncoming traffic.”
Redflex Traffic Systems had the inside track to win Chicago’s red light camera contract in 2003 reported the Chicago Tribune on Friday.
According to a former Redflex employee, former Deputy Director for the Chicago Department of Transportation John Bills allegedly coached the Redflex team on how to act during their pitch for the multi-million red light camera contract.
Bills and five Redflex employees allegedly met at the Signature Room atop the John Hancock Building in 2003, the night before they would present their bid at City Hall. The employee implies to the Tribune, Bills had put the fix in for Redflex to get the contract.
Not surprisingly, Redflex ended up winning the contract–a contract which will finally end in April, 2014.
The city’s red light camera system is in transition.
Xerox Local and State Solutions, the new vendor for Chicago’s huge red light camera enforcement program, is in the midst of transitioning the cameras from Redflex Traffic Systems to their control.
In some cases, Xerox can use the current hardware as the city owns the cameras. In other cases, Xerox needs to install new hardware.
This is what was going on Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Elston Avenue and Addison Street on the city’s Northwest Side.
Seeing an opportunity to get some photos of the new cameras, I pulled over, parked and began taking photos of red light camera units with their casings off, exposing the inside of the units.
At first, I didn’t see the technicians sitting inside vans there. But shortly after I began taking photos a gentleman got out of one of the vans and began sternly instructing me to put away my camera.
CBS 2 News catches up with Citizens Against Red Light Cameras, who have now added speed cameras to their regular protests around the city.
The group is still working to add signatures to their petition to have a vote on an advisory ballot measure in an upcoming election. CBS 2 reports the group has 52,000 signatures so far.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting the outgoing vendor for Chicago’s red light camera program may have engaged in unethical behavior and perhaps bribery in 13 other states where it operates.
According to a defamation lawsuit filed against Redflex Traffic Systems by a fired employee, he is cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company and feels he’s been scapegoated by a company which he claims has a history of providing municipal leaders with lavish gifts and bribes.
This filing was a counter-claim to an initial lawsuit against the employee by Redflex after the Tribune exposed a similar situation here in Chicago where the company allegedly paid for expensive hotels, trips and tickets to sporting events for John Bills, the former Chicago Department of Transportation official who headed up the city’s red light camera program.
This is the third time the contract has been extended and comes as Redflex’s current contract is set to end on January 31st while a new vendor, Xerox Local Solutions, is working to take over complete control of the cameras.
“It’s being extended for three months,” city spokesman Bill McCaffrey said. “They’re confident and we’re confident they will complete the transition by the end of this extension. They’re doing things as quickly as they can but we want to make sure things are done correctly.”
So far Xerox has control of 229 of the city’s 352 red light cameras.
Under city agreements, Redflex will continue to get paid for cameras they operate until Xerox moves them over to their system. As an incentive to move as quickly as possible, Xerox can only generate revenue when a camera is brought over under their management.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
With much fanfare, the City of Chicago announced in October it would decommission 38 red light cameras at 18 locations citywide early in 2014.
The city said that this handful of cameras had no reports of red angle crashes at each location over the past 12 months. So because they had done their job the city would remove them from the nation’s largest red light camera enforcement program.
But according to DNA Info, due to the complaints of Alderman Harry Osterman (48th), the Chicago Department of Transportation has changed their minds and is allowing the RLC at Hollywood Avenue and Sheridan (near the entrance to Lake Shore Drive) will now be allowed to remain.