Tag Archives: Chicago Tribune
In the wake of recent Chicago Tribune’s reporting on research showing a failure of Chicago’s red light cameras to improve traffic safety, two candidates for mayor have called for an end to the program.
The Tribune commissioned an academic study of crash data at Chicago red light camera locations which found that the city exaggerated the safety improvements from the cameras and while dangerous T-bone crashes did go down by 15%, rear-end crashes went up 22%–numbers which have caused the researchers to question if there is any traffic safety benefits from the program.
At City Hall Monday morning, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras held a press conference to again call for an end to the program based on the Tribune report.
Mayoral candidate Ald. Bob Fioretti joined the group’s director Mark Wallace in condemning the camera program and said he would end the program by April 15th if he was elected mayor. He plans to introduce an ordinance to stop the program next month.
That’s the main finding from an extensive research study of Chicago’s red light camera system commissioned by the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune teamed up with researchers from the Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, who analyzed crash data at RLC intersections before and after the cameras were installed.
The city claims the cameras have reduced dangerous right angle crashes by 47%.
But the Tribune study refutes the city’s numbers saying their analysis shows only a 15% decrease in injury causing T-bone crashes, but a 22% increase in rear-end crashes that caused injuries. At best, the researchers numbers indicate red light cameras have provided no improvement in overall traffic safety or at worst a 5% increase in the number of crashes that cause injuries.
Since Sunday’s Chicago Tribune story reporting mysterious spikes in red light camera violations several years ago, there’s been pressure from aldermen and the media for a response from City Hall.
Late Wednesday, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld responded to the controversy with testimony in front of the city council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.
“The Mayor and CDOT take very seriously the validity of and public confidence in all of our safety programs, including the red light camera program,” Scheinfeld said to begin her explanatory testimony. “Red light camera enforcement is designed to increase safety on Chicago’s streets. Cities across the country, and throughout the world, have been using such technology for many years.”
That’s how many tickets the Chicago Tribune spent the better part of a year analyzing while looking into Chicago’s red light camera program.
The hotly promoted story was the front page of Sunday’s newspaper and revealed problems with the nation’s largest red light camera program.
The story focuses on some odd, short term spikes in ticketing that occurred a few years ago at about a dozen intersections intersections in 2011 and 2012. Red light cameras that issued just a few tickets a day would seemingly and spontaneously erupt in ticket issuance and then after a few days or weeks, return to the normal violation volumes.
A couple moves from the city to the suburbs this spring.
They go to the Illinois Secretary of State to change the vehicle registration and their driver’s license to their new address.
But one day after they’ve moved while visiting the city, their car gets nailed with a $200 city sticker violation.
They fight the ticket by mail and provide documentation of their new lease and a copy of their updated registration.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, the Department of Administrative Hearings upholds the ticket and tells the couple to pay up.
Luckily, Tribune Problem Solver columnist Jon Yates rides to the rescue.
In an awesome job of re-reporting a story reported by The Expired Meter two months ago, the Chicago Tribune recently published a piece breaking down numbers which shows the city is paying less to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC than it had previously.
Again, as originally reported back in May, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration renegotiated the much criticized parking meter lease deal signed by Mayor Richard Daley in 2008. Under the revised deal, numbers seem to indicate that payments made to CPM for temporary meter closures, metered spaces taken out of service and other events reducing the value of the metered parking system have been drastically reduced.
Bills which topped $53 million in one year, are now just over $6 million a year.
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.
No one seems to be obeying the speed limit on the Illinois Tollway system according to the Chicago Tribune.
The newspaper reported Sunday that traffic studies indicate that, depending on exactly which stretch of the tollway that was being studied, 91-98% of cars are traveling faster than the posted 55 mph speed limit and just 1 in 20 vehicles are at or below the speed limit.
Perhaps one of the most interesting metrics from the data is when traffic engineers calculated the 85 percentile speeds of vehicles on the tollway, it comes up between 71-75 mph.
This revelation is well timed as a law to raise the speed limit on all Illinois expressways to 70 mph is set to take effect on January 1st.
Parked on a street near a speed camera was enough to get one driver a speed camera warning notice according to the Chicago Tribune.
The driver, received a warning notice for her parked car getting clocked going 37 miles per hour. Confused, she checked the online video and saw that her car sitting still while another car speed past in the opposite direction.
The incident upset her enough that she reached out to the newspaper to share her story.
An elderly lady owns a Honda Civic.
When she went to City Hall to renew the city sticker for her vehicle, when she got home she noticed the sticker had the correct license plate and VIN, but the wrong year and model of car. It was listed as a 2013 Honda del Sol according to the Chicago Tribune–a car which has been out of production for 7 years.
The lady called the City Clerk’s Office to try to resolve the problem, as she feared parking ticket punishment for the mismatch, but couldn’t get a call back after leaving multiple voice mails.
So she contacted Jon Yates, the Problem Solver columnist at the Chicago Tribune.