Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras
With a month to go in the run off election for mayor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel scrambled Sunday to tamp down the issue of red light cameras by announcing the city has shutdown 50 cameras at 25 intersections.
DNA Info covered the press conference where Emanuel, flanked by a handful of aldermen and Chicago Department of Transportation Director Rebekah Scheinfeld, the mayor explained these 25 intersections were decommissioned due to a “significant reduction of serious crashes” based on Illinois Department of Transportation crash data. In early 2014, the city removed 34 cameras at 16 intersections using the same methodology.
“This is all about the election,” says anti-camera activist Barnet Fagel. “He’s (Emanuel) so predictable–it’s laughable. Don’t be surprised if he takes out more right before the election. If he’s really serious about safety he’d set all the intersections with the proper yellow light times.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel has decided to embrace a proposal to install pedestrian count down timers at all 132 red light camera intersections around the city.
While the timers are intended to let pedestrians know how much time they have before the walk light expires, many drivers also find the timers helpful in determining how much time is left before the green light ends. Because Chicago’s traffic lights have the shortest yellow light times (three seconds) allowed by federal standards, the timers assist drivers whether they need to slow down or stop or speed up in order to avoid a $100 red light camera ticket.
At a news conference surrounded by members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras on Thursday, Garcia announced he will stop the city’s red light camera program on “Day One” in office if he’s elected mayor according to the Chicago Sun-Times
Garcia had never made the full dismantling of the nation’s largest red light camera program part of his platform before this. His position was to put the program on hold until a top to bottom review was done to see if it could or should be saved.
A report from the International Business Times has linked a former aide to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, when he was a member of Congress, to Xerox State and Local Solutions, Chicago’s new red light camera vendor.
IBT reports Emanuel’s top congressional aide John Borovicka joined a lobbying firm working for Xerox just days before the city awarded the contract to the copier company now dabbling in the automated traffic camera industry.
Borovicka and Emanuel have close ties according to the report. He was Emanuel’s campaign manager when he ran for congress in 2002 and then joined his staff, working for him for six years.
Coincidentally, Borovicka joined the lobbying firm just 18 days before snagged the $44 million contract to operate the nation’s largest red light camera program. City records show Borovicka met with Emanuel several times before the contract was awarded.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel “has to rethink” red light cameras to win his runoff election.
That’s one piece of advice Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White gave Emanuel via NewsRadio 780.
White co-chairs the mayor’s re-election committee and feels the controversy surrounding red light cameras is losing him votes.
The 80-year old politician has been Secretary of State since 1999, a department he helped cleanup after his predecessor George Ryan became governor, streamlining a system which oversees and manages millions of vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses every year.
The anti-red light camera train is gaining speed in Springfield.
First, Illinois State Representative David McSweeney proposed a ban on all red light cams statewide.
But more recently, Rep. La Shawn Ford who’s from Chicago, has introduced a bill which would specifically halt Chicago’s RLC system until the city submits a report to the General Assembly addressing all the issues surrounding the system including short yellows, thousands of tickets issued under questionable circumstances and a general distrust of the how tickets are adjudicated.
Ford’s bill would force Chicago to explain how they would fix these problems before allowing the city to restart its program according to the Associated Press.
Emanuel just recently got behind a proposal by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Ald. Anthony Beale (8th) to install pedestrian countdown timers at traffic lights where red light cameras are installed.
The city has 174 RLC intersections. 129 already have countdown timers with five more slated to be installed soon. Costs to install countdown timers at the remaining intersections are estimated to be close to $8 million.
The countdown timers give drivers the ability to see how many seconds are left before the green phase ends allowing them to either slow down or speed up to avoid running the red. The aldermen’s current proposal would also add time to the traffic light’s yellow phase–a change that has proven to decrease red light running, decrease crashes and improve safety.
An explosion of bright orange “parking tickets” landed on the windshields of cars parked in the McKinley Park, Brighton Park and Little Village neighborhoods recently.
But, according to DNA Info, the tickets were not official city issued parking violations but campaign fliers from Pete Demay, a challenger to Ald. George Cardenas in the race for 12th ward alderman. The faux parking ticket challenged Cardenas on his support of the city’s red light and speed camera programs as well as on his vote to privatize city parking meters back in 2008.
“We thought that people should know George Cardenas’ history as it relates to voting for ordinances that hurt everyday working people,” DeMay told DNA Info.
Illinois State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) introduced a bill in Springfield Thursday according to the Daily Herald.
McSweeney cited recent reporting by the Chicago Tribune which strongly questioned the effectiveness of red light cameras on reducing crashes and improving traffic safety.
“Red-light cameras primarily serve as a revenue enhancement tool at great cost to taxpayers,” McSweeney was quoted.