Tag Archives: red light camera tickets

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.

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.”

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.

City Yellow Lights Too Short, Judge Says Before Tossing Red Light Tickets

PrintSome of Chicago’s yellow lights are too short, according to an administrative law judge who said he’s thrown out “60 to 70 percent” of red light camera tickets he’s come across recently because of the discrepancy.

The city uses the state and federal standard of having yellow lights display for a minimum of three seconds at intersections. But an administrative law judge, who hears appeals from motorists ticketed by red light cameras, said during a hearing this week that he has seen evidence that yellow times are slightly beneath that at some Chicago intersections with red light cameras.

The hearing at 400 W. Superior lasted three hours Monday, after the city sent three lawyers and several department supervisors to defend five tickets being challenged by Barnet Fagel, a video forensic specialist who helps drivers fight red light and speed camera tickets.

Three attorneys, a law department supervisor, a public information officer and a Chicago Department of Transportation deputy director overseeing the city’s traffic camera programs showed up to what normally would be a brief, attorney-free affair. Typically, drivers try to persuade administrative law judges that their ticket should be thrown out by presenting photos and other evidence.

But Monday, city attorneys Alexis Long and Tom Doran spent the first 30 minutes of the hearing challenging Fagel’s expertise and his ability to testify in these matters on behalf of the motorists who were ticketed.

Read more at DNA Info.

Waguespack Files Resolution, Demands Red Light Camera Hearings

Alderman Scott Waguespack (323nd).

Alderman Scott Waguespack (323nd).

Ald. Scott Waguespack is  not screwing around this time–he wants formal hearings on the city’s red light cameras.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Waguespack filed a resolution with 19 c0-sponsors demanding hearings on Chicago’s beleaguered red light camera program.

“The resolution simply says you got to have a hearing on this,” explained Waguespack.

Hearings would be held in the Committee on Transportation and the Public Way.

Waguespack and a handful of other alderman asked for hearings over a year ago after a Chicago Tribune story revealed an alleged bribery scheme between the city’s RLC vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems and former Chicago Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner John Bills. Bills has since been federally indicted.

At the time the aldermen felt it was time to give the program a hard look–but were ignored.

“We represent the people,” said an agitated Waguespack. “They said ‘go shove it to the people of the City of Chicago. It took a federal grand jury to get things going.”

City Caves To Pressure, Will Review 9000 Red Light Camera Tickets

Scheinfeld at press conference

CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld speaks at a crosswalk enforcement press conference in early July.

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.”

Motorist Goes 2 For 3 Against City In Red Light Camera Fight

red_light_cameraHaving writer Jon Yates bring attention to his red light camera woes in the pages of the Chicago Tribune seems to have really helped Jamal Norwood get some justice from the city.

As you may recall, Norwood received a red light camera ticket where the video seems to show him making a complete stop before turning right on red.

But despite contesting his ticket and pointing out he indeed stopped, the Administrative Law Judge who adjudicated his ticket upheld the violation.

Chicago Red-Light Camera Tickets Drop for Fifth Straight Year

Chicago red light camera tickets have declined 20% in the past 5 years.

Chicago red light camera tickets have declined 20% in the past 5 years.

Drivers appear to be hitting the brakes at red lights — leading to a big drop in tickets issued by red-light cameras, city officials said.

For the fifth year in a row, Chicago’s red-light camera program has seen a significant decline in the number of tickets issued.

The city’s 384 red-light cameras issued 579,460 tickets last year — 32,619 fewer than in 2012, representing a 5 percent decline, according to data obtained from the city’s Finance Department.

In fact, the data shows red-light camera tickets have been falling steadily since 2009, when 722,935 tickets were issued, a record at the time after a dramatic expansion of the program a year earlier. The 140,000-ticket drop represents a 20 percent decline since the peak five years ago.

Fewer tickets issued means a potential drop in fine revenue. At $100 a ticket, that translates to an estimated $3.2 million drop in fines issued between 2012 and 2013 and a $14.3 million drop in total fines issued since 2009.

Read more at DNA Info.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek: The Snow Covered Hydrant Caper

Katie and the fire hydrant

Where’s the fire hydrant? Katie points out the fire hydrant covered with snow where she was issued a parking ticket.

Hey Geek,

I received a ticket for blocking a fire hydrant.

But I parked there one evening because the snow was so high that the hydrant and the yellow curb were not visible.

Is there a way to contest this?

Katie

Most of us are exasperated with the tremendous amount of snow in the city this winter, Katie.

But would you have ever thought that in this instance, the snow actually works to your advantage in fighting this parking ticket?

Read more at DNA Info Chicago
.

Xerox Wins $44 Million Contract To Run City’s Red-Light Cameras

A sign on Irving Park Road warns drivers of the red light camera at at Kedzie.

The world’s largest copier manufacturer will now oversee the nation’s largest red light-camera program the City of Chicago confirmed Friday morning.

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday it finalized the $44 million contract with Xerox to run the cameras for the next five years. There are options to renew it three times at two years per extension.

Xerox will move immediately to take over the management of the red-light camera program from Redflex, according to CDOT.

Under the new contract, Xerox will charge the city $1,819 per camera per month, which is substantially less than the $4,300 per month Redflex has been charging under the current contract, CDOT said. Officials said the new contract will save $50 million dollars over the next five years.

“Automated red-light enforcement changes drivers’ behavior to reduce the number of crashes and increase the level of safety for everyone,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “We plan to continue this important program with a new management team that will both improve the technology and efficiency of the program while saving operating expenses.”

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Story updated to reflect correct total contract amount.