Tag Archives: Chicago speed cameras
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not happy.
That’s because one of his pet revenue projects, the city’s speed camera program, has been proven to have issued hundreds of thousands of improperly issued violations by the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune estimates the city has issued nearly $2.5 million in erroneous ticket fines.
The Tribune discovered problems with nearly every aspect of speed camera enforcement. In some cases signs were not installed properly, tickets were issued around schools when school was out, or were issued after parks closed or when parks were under construction.
In an effort to make himself the most hated person on the 6th floor of City Hall, reporter David Kidwell dropped another blow to Chicago’s automated traffic enforcement industry in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune.
The Trib story provides overwhelming evidence the city’s speed camera program has been issuing tens of thousands of erroneous violations costing unsuspecting drivers millions of dollars in fines.
Among the findings, the Tribune discovered more than 22,000 speed cam tickets were issued around parks which were closed for construction, over 11,000 speeding tickets were issued around parks past the parks posted hours, and 28,000 tickets were issued at locations where warning signs were either not posted or obscured.
Not only that, a random review of 1,500 tickets around school zones found a third had no children present in the video or photographs. And 62,000 school zone speeding tickets were issued during the summer–when school was out.
In fact, a protest spearheaded by Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, took place Monday to vent the frustration of locals–including Ald. George Cardenas.
Cardenas and his constituents point out the location selected by the Chicago Department of Transportation is not protecting any children due to the lack of said juveniles in this heavily industrial stretch of Archer Avenue. Sure, there’s a playlot nearby, but well out of view and far from the camera.
The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday that new speed cameras outside Mulberry Park and Keystone Park will begin issuing warnings next week.
The cameras were supposed to be turned on earlier, but construction projects in and around both parks delayed activation according to CDOT.
One camera outside of Mulberry Park (in the 3200 block of S. Archer) and three cameras near Keystone Park (in the 4000 block of W. North Ave. and 1700 block of W. North Ave.) will begin issuing warnings Monday, November 9th.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the city’s speed camera automated traffic enforcement program to protect kids from speeding vehicles.
At least that’s the official premise of a program called the Children’s Safety Zone Program.
Speed cams would be installed near parks and schools to slow down motorists and theoretically reduce kids being hit and injured or killed by speeding vehicles.
But some Chicagoans are angrily questioning why some speed cameras are not actually placed adjacent to the parks they’re mean to protect.
CBS 2′ Pam Zekman reports on a handful of locations where speed cams are placed within the legal parameters of the law (within 1/8th of a mile from a park or school), but seemingly not within the spirit of why the program was created.
Good new and bad news.
First, the good news.
Ald. Willie Cochrane has seemingly convinced City Hall to install more digital speed indicator signs near speed camera locations around the city according to columnist Mark Konkol at DNA Info.
It seems Cochrane has been frustrated by the trio of speed cam violations he’s been issued near the University of Chicago and wants more warning for drivers. The digital signs give drivers real time feedback on the speed their traveling near speed cameras. While there have been a handful of these signs posted at a smattering of sites around the city, Konkol reports another 50 are going up. Cochrane’s hope is the speed data will slow drivers down enough to avoid a ticket.
WGN TV focused their news cameras on Chicago’s parking debt crisis Tuesday, a story The Expired Meter broke several months ago.
Drivers owe the City of Chicago over $1.3 billion in unpaid parking tickets. When you add over $250 million in unpaid red light camera and speed camera tickets the totals top off at over $1.5 billion.
The worse news is that debt has been growing on average of $1 million a week since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office.
DNA Info’s comprehensive look at the city’s year and a half old automated camera program show’s the cameras have issued nearly 1.6 million violations with fines totaling nearly $58 million dollars since the first cameras began issuing tickets in October 2013.
Every day, nearly 3,000 motorists are hit with a speed cam ticket issued at 142 camera locations near parks and schools, and averaging fine revenue for the city of about $109,000 per day.
A local group dedicated to eradicating red light and speed cameras from Chicago streets, was able to put a few notches in their political belt during the most recent municipal elections.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras sent their pledge to abolish red light and speed cameras to all city aldermanic and mayoral candidates prior to the election. Eight of those candidates who signed the group’s pledge, won city council seats for the next four years.
Nearly 50 candidates representing races in 30 wards, and four mayoral candidates signed the group’s pledge.
“We want to congratulate newly elected on their impressive victories and express our gratitude to these champions of reform on their election to the City Council” said Mark Wallace, Director of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.
The list includes three new aldermen–Susan Sadlowski-Garza, Derrick Curtis and David Moore as well as Toni Foulkes, an incumbent who was redistricted out of her current ward but won in the newly drawn 16th ward.
Next to pensions, the cameras are a close second in the top tier of issues being discussed by the candidates. Even USA Today says so.
One group who’s done an effective job of making the automated traffic enforcement cameras a hot topic is the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras. They’ve been holding protests around the city for the better part of two years and asked candidates to sign a pledge to dismantle both programs if elected.