Tag Archives: Chicago speed cameras
Mere weeks ago, the first speed camera was turned on in Brittan snapping photos of drivers who exceeded the speed limit by 20 mph over the speed limit according to a retrospective in the Telegraph.
What a shock.
According to a Chicago Tribune/WGN TV poll, 54% of Chicago voters are against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera program.
But even mores surprisingly, 69% of the 700 respondents to the poll felt that speed cameras were about raising revenue and not about improving traffic safety. Only 37% believed the program was primarily about improving safety.
RLC Lawsuits Have Poor Record Of Success In Illinois
Mere minutes before the City Council was posed to vote and pass an ordinance which will eventually make Chicago the speed camera capital of the U.S., a lawyer for Simmons Law Firm was filing a class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County attacking the legality of the city’s red light camera program.
This lawsuit, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, contends that Chicago did not have legal authority to issue red light camera tickets back in 2003 when the city initiated its RLC program.
It was only after 2006, when the Illinois General Assembly passed its red light camera law that would have allowed Chicago to issue these type of violations according to the complaint. The lawsuit asks to recover the $90 fines (now $100) allegedly unlawfully levied against hundreds of thousands of drivers between 2003 and 2006. A successful case could potentially cost the Chicago tens of millions of dollars in refunds.
But this recent lawsuit is not the first salvo in class action taken against Chicago’s red light cameras and not the first case challenging the legal basis for the law.
The original and similar lawsuit was filed on July 2, 2010 on behalf of Elizabeth M. Keating and Paul W. Ketz against the City of Chicago as well as red light camera companies Redflex Traffic Systems and Redspeed Illinois LLC.
However, that lawsuit was dismissed by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hyman on a motion by the City of Chicago the beginning of August, 2011. But Simmons promptly filed an appeal with the Illinois Appellate Court on August 31, 2011.
There. I’ve said it.
I think Chicago alderman should vote for the ordinance because a speed camera program can do so much for their career and the city.
Let me explain.
Speed cameras are a great idea if you want to generate revenue. Lot’s of revenue. Millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue.
When you understand that Chicago’s 191 red light camera locations generated $69 million in 2010, a potential 300 speed camera locations could easily dwarf the nation’s largest RLC program.
Speed cameras are a great idea if you want to increase traffic times. Local spokesperson for the National Motorists Association and traffic safety expert Barnet Fagel believes speed cameras will cause drivers to suddenly slow down through the camera enforced safety zones, but then speed up after leaving the zone causing traffic dislocation and longer commute times.
“Speed cameras will slow traffic flow,” says Fagel. “You think traffic is bad now? Just wait until the speed cameras go in then prepare to be stuck in traffic even longer.”
With the Chicago City Council set to vote on the speed camera ordinance at Wednesday morning’s meeting, we bring you a few last minute stories before the vote.
In the video above, the Active Transportation Alliance, a group which strongly supports the speed cameras, took a speed gun into Humboldt Park to document the fact that some drivers break the speed limit.
We’re all shocked, SHOCKED they were able to find speeding drivers in Chicago.
WBBM Radio 780 did a news report on ATA’s video.
GRID Chicago Writer Against Speed Cam Ordinance?
Speaking of shocking.
The Expired Meters Highlight Curious Numbers On Traffic Safety
Monday, the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety released data from the Chicago Department of Transportation to aldermen who had requested the information during last Wednesday’s hearings on the pending speed camera ordinance.
The reports were released late Monday afternoon, giving city council members just over a single day to pour over the information before a potential vote on the speed camera ordinance when the full Chicago City Council meets Wednesday morning.
This information was “shared” with The Expired Meter, so as a public service, this site will post the entire report and share some of the more interesting numbers to gain some insight into what is shaping up to be a divisive policy.
Hide & Seek With Numbers
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli famously said.
An apt expression to be sure when it comes to Chicago pedestrian crash data.
Some Alderman Voice Fears At Speed Camera Hearings
Despite many questions and aldermanic reservations, the Chicago speed camera ordinance passed out of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Wednesday evening.
On a voice vote, despite a smattering of nays, the ordinance moves for debate and a vote before the full city council next week.
At the start of the hearings, committee chair Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) announced some more changes to the ordinance just before introducing Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.
The major alteration would be lowering the fine from the originally proposed $50 to $35 for exceeding the posted speed by 6-10 mph. The fine of $100 for exceeding the limit by 11 mph or more would remain intact.
Another change to the proposed ordinance would be for the purposes of improving traffic safety, the city would be divided into six safety regions in order to insure the maximum 300 (20% of the total possible safety zones and less than originally estimated) speed camera locations which would be allowed under the law, to be distributed equitably citywide.
In addition, an advisory committee of citizens, CDOT staffers and aldermen would have input on where cameras would be installed.
“All we’re asking people to do at the end of the day is obey the law,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein during the hearings.
A simple request on its face.
But some Chicago City Council members expressed a smorgasboard of concerns over the now renamed “Children’s Safety Zone Ordinance.”
The Expired Meter spent the last few days calling all 50 ward community offices to get a feel for how Chicagoans were telling their city council members about the speed camera plan.
Overall, different wards seemed to be experiencing different levels of response from their communities. According to many ward offices, they had not received any calls or emails on the controversial traffic enforcement plan.
At two ward offices, staff members were completely unfamiliar with the issue while other offices said they had received calls, but would not divulge which way the sentiment was leaning. Many others never returned our calls.
However, of the 14 wards seeing significant constituent response and willing to reveal citizen sentiment, the majority were seeing overwhelming opposition to the speed camera plan.
The Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, will convene at 1 PM in City Council Chambers at City Hall next Wednesday to discuss the divisive law Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing, which could have as many as 360 city intersections issuing $50 and $100 tickets for exceeding the speed limit.
The originally scheduled meeting was postponed to allow committee members to gauge constituent sentiment before meeting on the issue according to a Tribune story.
There was supposed to be a hearing on Chicago’s proposed speed camera law at the next meeting of the City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety on Monday.
Despite the meeting not appearing on the City Clerk’s website, and Committee Chair Margaret Laurino’s (39th) staff telling this writer multiple times no meeting had been scheduled, the Chicago Tribune is reporting a meeting was scheduled and then postponed to allow committee members to gauge constituent sentiment on the issue.