Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras

Illinois Supreme Court Poised To Rule On Chicago’s Red Light Camera Lawsuit Thursday

red_light_cameraAfter more than six months of waiting, the Illinois Supreme Court will rule on whether a class action lawsuit against Chicago’s red light camera program can continue on it’s long legal road.

Tuesday the court’s website announced a ruling on the case will be issued Thursday morning.

The court heard oral arguments on Keating v. City of Chicago this past May at the historic Ottawa Courthouse.

Attorney Patrick Keating filed the class action suit in 2010 in Cook County Circuit Court but it got dismissed. This ruling was upheld by the Appellate Court in 2013 and then promptly appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Redflex Loses Another Local Contract In Suburban Tinley Park

Redflex logoThe bad news continues for beleaguered Redflex Traffic Systems.

The former vendor for Chicago’s red light camera system was banned two years ago from holding a city contract after allegations the company had bribed a former city manager hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure the lucrative contract.

While Chicago was the company’s largest contract, it has lost camera contracts elsewhere around the country resulting in a painful $3.8 million net loss so far this year according to The Newspaper.

So Redflex management probably wasn’t happy to hear south suburban Tinley Park is going to continue its red light camera program with SafeSpeed, a Chicago-based competitor, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Many Questions But Few Answers At Red Light Camera Hearings

Ferguson & ScheinfeldTransportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld stuck with the script.

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.

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.

Bag Man In Redflex Bribery Scandal Will Plead Guilty

Redflex logoAccording to court filings, Martin O’Malley was the man in the middle of the Redflex Traffic Systems bribery scandal.

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.”

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.

Mayoral Candidate Calls For Moratorium On Red Light Cameras

Mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti. (Photo credit: DNA Info).

Mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti. (Photo credit: DNA Info).

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.”

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.”

Tiny Percentage Of Suspicious Red Light Tickets Get Tossed

red_light_cameraJust 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.