Mayor Wants To Use Red Light Cameras To Catch Speeders

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday that he’s pushing for state lawmakers to allow the city to use its red light cameras to catch speeding drivers near schools and parks.

The mayor said he wants to make sure people driving near schools or parks have a deterrent – a reason to obey the speed limit.

He said using red light cameras to catch speeders would be the best option.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller Reports

“This is about deterrence. That’s the number-one goal. It’s about deterrence. I want our kids to get to school and be in school safely,” Emanuel said. “If you’re a law-abiding citizen and you drive safely near a school, you don’t have anything to worry about.”

Emanuel said the city has done some studies that have found 25 percent of the cars driving near schools are speeding.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine asked the mayor how long it would be before speed cameras are everywhere.

Emanuel promised that won’t happen. Instead, existing red light cameras within a quarter mile of schools and parks would be modified and mobile cameras would be brought in near other schools and parks, only to make it safer for kids.

Asked if he pledged to keep the speed cameras off Lake Shore Drive and other areas away from schools, the mayor said, “Absolutely. This is all about schools and parks. It has nothing else … I hope I get no revenue out of it.

The mayor’s office is proposing legislation to modify existing red light cameras within a quarter mile of schools and parks, as well as to bring in portable units to ticket speeding motorists in school areas where there are no red light cameras.

Emanuel cited statistics about accidents around schools, like UIC College Prep, where three personal stories put the issue into perspective.

“I was hit by a car not too long ago. I was on my way to school,” said one young woman at the mayor’s press conference.

Ald. James Balcer (11th), who chairs the City Council Public Safety Committee, said he was hit by a car when he was 8 years old

And Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said, “I also got hit by a car in the Bronx, chasing a rubber ball out into the street.”

“The speed camera initiative is really a no brainer,” McCarthy added.

Parents picking up their children at STEM Magnet Academy on the Southwest Side Thursday afternoon agreed.

May Cheung said it was a good idea, “near schools especially, because there are a lot of kids crossing the street.”

Another driver said, “There have been some cars driving a little fast through here; faster than I would want.”

All weren’t so sure about using those cameras to ticket speeders elsewhere.

“I think the police should have the responsibility to do their job and they should do their job,” one woman said.

But, McCarthy hinted that speed cameras placed elsewhere could be on the horizon.

“This is really just a start and, if you think about it, what I would love to see is a network expanding as we go further,” he said.

For now, the proposed legislation – which must be approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor – does not permit cameras to catch speeders anywhere but those so-called safety zones around schools and parks.

That law would have to be amended if the reach of those photographic speed traps were to be expanded.


    Great IDEA !!!! If everyone has to drive the limit it will help end road rage and all the other bad things related to speeding…….

  • Jon

    This is AWESOME! Except why just near schools/parks? People drive on city streets here like it’s the interstate. If 25 percent speed near schools than I am sure the numbers are higher every else. We would have safter streets and could make a little money off it. It seems like a great idea to me. Also the police have done nothing to enforce the speed limit, so maybe the cameras are the only way.

  • Jay Bee

    Why doesn’t he just have laser cannons attached to the cameras to vaporize the speeders and save on court costs?



  • Stella Evans

    Who the hell wants to still live in Chicago? Emanual is going to be a one term mayor, I hope. I juct brought a SUV to transport grandkids and their friends to activities and now I’ll have to pay how much more on a city sticker? The lights with cameras should at least have the “count down” numbers on them. I want to move out of Chicago as soon as possible. I’m retired, I have got to find a cheaper place to live!!

  • Bill

    This is just going way too far! why doesnt Occupy Chicago protest this as “The Man” is draining our pockets with red light cams, speed cams, parking meters from hell, road taxes, city stickers! Whats next? satellite devices in your car that instantly advise Big Brother any time you deviate from the regulations?

  • PG

    For those of you who applaud this, let me ask you to think about something.

    The cameras will be set to “catch” people who exceed a predetermined speed limit with no margin for error. Meaning that, if you exceed the speed limit by just 1-2 miles an hour, you can potentially look forward to receiving a ticket.

    Now, consider that while you will need to be worried about you how you drive and committing a minor offense of driving 1 or 2 mph faster than a posted speed limit, illegal immigrants (who are breaking federal law by even being in this country), can live without consequence in our city as it is a “sanctuary city”.

    On the one hand, citizens are seeing increased taxes, higher “fees” and now increased surveillance to make sure that we do not break any laws at all, and in the other hand we have a class of people (illegals) who are basically given a free pass to live here. They use social security numbers which don’t belong to them (federal offense), they drive cars without licenses (state and local offenses), get paid in cash (many times) therefore avoiding payroll taxes, are a drain on public services such as welfare and the school system, etc., and that is seemingly o.k. with the city of Chicago.

    But heaven forbid you drive a little faster than the posted speed limit! I will support more laws and enforcement for the legal citizens of Chicago when Chicago decides that it is done with providing sanctuary to the lawbreakers known as illegal immigrants.

    • Roberta Waker

      ILLEGALS are the main reason Chicago and Illinois is in such financial trouble, but the people that run the show are either too stupid to admit it or too embarrassed. Our elected “representatives” cater to them so they will vote to keep these sympathizers in office. What they can’t seem to understand is that ILLEGALS stick together and when they get amnesty, they will take over our country, our President, Congress, and we will no longer have a Constitution – we will be governed like Mexico complete with the drug lords. Wake up people, time to take our country back. Elections are only the beginning. I’m tire of pressing one for English and reading directions in Mexican – this is America and our language is ENGLISH. If you’re not here LEGALLY, you are a criminal and should be DEPORTED.

  • dw

    Poor oppressed SUV driving retirees. Who will stand up for them?

  • Adam

    Why don’t we get little chips implanted into our heads that automaticly deduct a fine every time we think about doing something iilleagal. Or wo go with the law, an officer has to catch you doing something wrong, and then prove it in a court. When are we going to stop the state from making a profit on our shortcommings?

  • Bo Weavil Knievel

    What ever happened to putting speed cameras on the expressway? People drive so fast you can’t even see their license plate! I fear for my life on the Bishop Ford. And if there’s a chance you get a ticket for driving 1 mph over the speed limit, then slow the fark down! Leave earlier. It’s not that difficult to follow the letter of law, providing you can read and reason. If cannot, you should not be driving a motor vehicle. Surely, I digress…

    Besides, these cameras will all eventually be stolen anyway.

  • glad I no longer live in Chicago and do ALL of my business elsewhere

    The proposed “speeding cameras” have nothing to do with “safety” only with revenue,after all corrupt miss-managed government is expensive! RAHM!!! You are an arrogant jerk of world class proportions!

  • Chicago Speed Camera Legislation Clears State Senate Committee « CBS Chicago

    […] The legislation would allow the modification of existing red light cameras within a quarter mile of … […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live