Emanuel Pushes State To Approve Speed Cameras

Updated 11/07/11 – 6:23 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) Mayor Rahm Emanuel is making a big push for final state House passage of a law that will allow the City of Chicago to use some of its red light cameras to catch speeders as well.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on Tuesday, and the House will take up the bill. The state Senate has already approved the legislation

At the city’s 911 Center, 1451 W. Madison St., Mayor Emanuel surrounded himself with state legislators, medical professionals and others to call on lawmakers to send Gov. Pat Quinn legislation that will allow the city to use cameras to catch speeders in schools and parks.

The Illinois Senate has already approved legislation allowing for speed cameras in Chicago. The Illinois House is expected to take up the proposal this week during the second week of the fall veto session.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Emanuel insisted the City is not trying to use the speed cams as revenue generators. He says they are part of an overall strategy to protect children.

“It’s not a one-trick pony – speed cameras, that’s it. It’s curfew, ministers, crossing guards, cameras inside schools and speed cameras outside schools,” Emanuel said. “If you follow the law, you’ve got nothing to worry about, simple. As you follow the law, this is not a problem. If you break the law, obviously you’ve got a concern. And all I’m saying is just don’t do it near a school or park.”

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine asked the mayor if he had any proof that speed cameras would save lives and not just make money for the city.

Emanuel pointed to city statistics that showed pedestrian fatalities near intersections went down 70 percent after red light cameras were installed.

The Chicago Department of Transportation’s before and after study of the city’s 109 red light cameras found 53 fatalities – 26 of them pedestrians – before the cameras started snapping pictures and triggering tickets, compared to 21 fatalities – 6 of them pedestrians – after the cameras went in.

The mayor brought in lawmakers promising their votes for the new cameras this week, calling them part of a strategy which included more crossing guards, safe passage funds, enforcing a curfew and new cameras inside schools.

“If all we did was one thing, there’s a lot of questions to be raised. This is five separate things to make sure our children are safe,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel said he didn’t care if the cameras made any money, only that they saved lives.

State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who has expressed concerns about the use of speed cameras, said, “I certainly don’t question his commitment to children’s safety. That being said, to sort of position yourself as this not being at all about money, I don’t think passes the smell test to most constituents.”

Especially when you see another study, which the Mayor didn’t talk about, obtained by the man behind the website “The Expired Meter.”

Mike Brockway’s “The Expired Meter” website has the results of a trial run of seven red light cameras temporarily enabled to detect speeders in April and May and he said the study shows those cameras alone would have generated more than $100 million in speeding ticket revenue.

That study found speeders were 20, 30, even 60 times more common than red light runners, who are already contributing millions to city coffers.

And remember, the test covered just a handful of cameras.

Under the mayor’s proposal, speed cameras would be set up in designated safety zones within a 1/8 mile radius of schools and parks and would ticket cars going more than five miles per hour over the speed limit.

Before enforcement with speed cameras, the city would conduct a 30-day public education campaign to inform drivers of the new speed cameras. Intersections with the cameras would also have signage informing drivers that the speed cameras are there.

“The goal is to change people’s behavior. You have education, engineering and enforcement and if you don’t have the enforcement, the other two aren’t as effective,” CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein said.

The mayor said his goal on Monday was to try to change the focus of the debate.

“I also like to remind people – because this debate seems to have a funny turn – the victims here are the children that are hit by cars that are speeding, not those who are speeding and get caught,” Emanuel said.

Regardless, if the legislation is approved, the number of traffic cameras in the city could skyrocket.

Right now, the city has red light cameras in 79 locations within a 1/8 of a mile of a school or park. Those are the cameras Emanuel said he wants to modify to catch speeders and they cover about 3 percent of the city.

But the legislation would also allow entirely new cameras close to schools and parks and a Chicago Tribune analysis of the proposed legislation to allow speed cameras in the city showed the legislation would allow at least 47 percent of the city to be covered by the cameras – not including areas around colleges and universities.

Any motorist busted by a camera would be sent a ticket in the mail. Sponsors said the tickets would be sent to the owner of the car caught speeding. The cameras would only take photos of the speeding car’s license plate, not the driver.

The owner would be subject to a $100 fine and five unpaid fines would result in the loss of the owner’s driver’s license.

  • JOE-A41

    We’ll see if that happens or not. The State should probably have it on the interstate highways since they can’t afford to pay enough State Police. But they’re too cheap to even consider that idea anyways.

    • JOE-A41

      And to go further, Mayor Emmanuel, you also ought to ticket those pedestrians and/or bicyclists who show no respect to themselves as well as motorists who may have had the right of way ahead of them. Pedestrians walk around here like they live in Europe or Asia. You should consider giving tickets to “jaywalkers” so they obey the law too

    • Sheep

      OMG is it true that Mayor Emanuel wants to lower the speed limit to 15 mph on all city streets?

    • bawk bawk

      I don’t see why Rahm has to go to springfield and “push” this c-r-a-p.

      Everything he wants is immediately approved. Who would say no to him?

  • MMW

    What about adults who are hit by speeding cars? I’ll bet a lot of them are parents. Instead of always thinking about the children…think about the parents.

    I’ll have to agree with this speedcam stuff. But I heard that we can get fined $100 for going 1 mile over the speed limit. Sometimes you just can’t help that.

    I’m really tired of being tailgated when I’m going 45 in a 30 mph zone and being bumped by a leadfoot who goes around me and really starts hauling a-s-s-s-s.

    I’m tired of being in heavy traffic and tailgated by someone when I have 10 cars in front of me and no where to escape the tailgater.

    People have to realize that traffic is traffic and when I’m going 40 and someone going 70 catches up to me in mere seconds and is on my bumper, what do I do?

    Also taxi cabs. I believe they are the super-majority of vehicles especially downtown. I’ve had cabs race up behind me, bump me, flash their brights, lay on the horn, but it really gets me PO’d off when a cab races around me and slams on their brakes. That happened to me twice and I have their cab numbers. They slammed on their brakes just to rattle me. They didn’t slam on their brakes because there was traffic ahead of them. These guys are criminal. I’ve seen them attempt to run pedestrians over. Set up tons of video cameras in downtown, ok? You won’t believe your eyes.

    Cabs don’t have to pay garage parking fees because they don’t park in garages. But they do park their cabs on streets where there are no parking payment boxes and get away with it.

    • Andrew Petersen

      The cabs that park on Residential street can only be ticketed 25 bucks a day if they are spotted by Police or Parking Enforcers..

      Cheap fine…why would they bother to park on a meter or in a garage?

    • mya

      So true! Why won’t he set up red light cameras downtown? It’s more dangerous down there as far as pedestrians and car accidents. Rahm Emanuel is full of **** and needs to get out of office.

  • suzy diamond

    Big Brother alive and well and workin’ overtime! People better wise up. This is just the tip of the iceberg and maybe THIS doesn’t effect YOU but eventually there will be SOME new law in the near future that WILL EFFECT you!

  • Left Chi and glad of it....

    Hey, it’s the Chicago Way………..

    If you voted for this goof, you only have yourself to blame…….

  • Tuff Enuff

    More “Big brother” / revenue generating BS!!! Just what we DONT NEED!!

    Enough of of the liberal overtaxing, Crook county needs to get rid of these jerks who prey upon it’s residents. This area is becoming a police state. Hire more cops and tell the judges to stop letting the criminals off the hook. We dont need cameras watching our every move and the gun laws dont do squat either… they only take guns from the people who FOLLOW the law, not the people who violate it.

  • mkr

    this is a joke right? what the hell is a camera going to do but cost more money and then he’ll come back and say ” i know lets put cameras up peoples butts that way it way we can easily just take what we need when we want it. so what if drain the pocket of chicago. why not put cameras at stop signs no one stop any. i bet if you did this the city will make money. how many people have you seen run a stop signs like it wasn’t there.

    • brb

      I can provide a lot of city addresses where drivers fly through stop signs on the s.w. side. I’ve almost been killed a few times trying to walk across the street. They don’t even hesitate when they see a stop sign, run down dogs, all kinds of stuff.

      If people can’t speed on the busy streets, they can go 60 on sidestreets, whether there’s speed bumps or not. Alleys, too. That’s really bad for the children.

  • Wolf

    Why do you need Red Light Cameras with the bloated Police operations just put some out on the street instead of them all hanging out in the Donut shops.

    • FTC

      That’s right, blame the cops. They don’t like cameras either. Wolf come out of the basement and into the light. Oh Yeah, quit didling yourself.

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    Everything Rahm is doing is designed to either cut expenses or increase revenue. Yet in this case it’s not about the revenue? Right.

    Don’t pass it, Springfield.

    If they do pass it, I guarantee it won’t end there. These cameras will be more widespread over time. They’re already ubiquitous.

  • Jim

    Take the revenue and put it directly into the local schools. Not teacher salaries, but books, computers, sports EQ, etc. THEN it would be about safety, but in reality it’s all about revenue.

    • follow the $

      c’mon jim, we all know this $$$$ isn’t going to any school. our mayor has a lot of friend$ who he has to keep as friend$. why do you think so many people want to be mayor of Chicago? lots and lots of free $$$$$ baby.

  • Gabe

    It’s about safety. 30mph means 30mph. MMW I totally agree with you. A red light means you have to stop for three seconds then proceed with your turn. What? You people disagree ? Well then you need to learn how to drive . I LOVE THOSE RED CAMERAS. IF WE ONLY HAD MORE. The only people that complain are the idiot’s that can’t drive. IT’S ABOUT SAFETY. If you don’t want to contribute to Rahm’s revenue , simple solution, Don’t drive like an idiot. Oh the rearend issue when the light turns red, don’t follow so closely.

    • John Q. Public

      Seeing as how I have always come to a full stop before turning right on red and never have blown a red light, the cameras don’t bother me in that way. My complaint, one nobody ever seems to bring up, is that a moving violation is issued to a vehicle and not a driver. Therefore a person can recieve moving violations for someone elses driving. How can this be legal? Your license can be suspended for someone else who might have been driving your vehicle. What about business owners who never drive their service vehicles? It just doesn’t seem legal!

    • Gus

      You read my mind, Gabe, with you 100%.

  • leo

    if the chicago police would do their job and patrol around the schools we wouldn’t need speed cameras but no they hide in diners and stores drinking coffee and eating for free

  • Samantha Hoffman

    Make children safer AND generate revenue. It’s a win-win.

  • Phil

    There are so many good reasons for having these cameras as widely as possible, who cares what the stated reason is? And they should be on expressways too. They are targeting lawbreakers, what possible defense do these lawbreakers have? There is no way police can or should spend their time doing what electronics can do better.

  • AZE

    $49 red light camera and speed camera detector – http://www.gpsangel.com

  • Jim

    The Chicago idiots that voted for Rahm get what they deserve from Rahm hahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    By the way,
    Hi there Chicago it’s me from down state illinois. Hows the anti gun laws working out for ya. When will you idiots up there wake up and see your anti cary laws only dis arm the law abiding guys and keep the bad guys safer?

  • Harry Callahan

    This is a huge killjoy to an icon of American life – the road trip. You have to wonder what kind of impact a massive influx of robotic speeding cameras will have on tourism (local, regional and national), auto sales and rental cars for the City of Chicago? Once the tickets start to roll in, I imagine most folks will either stay in their local neighborhood or suburban community or take public transportation or cabs all over town rather than try to comply with the robotic speed traps. It will be absolutely no fun trying to drive inside the City’s borders – staying perfectly within the speed limit irrespective of road conditions – or suffer the expensive consequences.

  • Jason Buchanan

    In 2009, the City of Chicago made $58.9 million in revenue from red light camera tickets. Now they want to ticket you for speeding over 5 mph.

  • Jim

    Another way for liberal Chicago to rip off working class taxpayers that must drive to work every day. If anyone thinks that speed cameras are anything other than a huge revenue maker for the city, than you aren’t intelligent enough to even operate a vehicle.
    To me, speed cameras would DECREASE SAFETY. When you’re constantly staring at your speedometer because you’re afraid you could possible be exceeded the speed limit by a few miles, then you aren’t concentrating on the road. Your eyes can’t be focused on both driving and looking at the speedometer at the same time.

  • Jim

    Another way for liberal Chicago to rip off working class taxpayers that must drive to work every day. If anyone thinks that speed cameras are anything other than a huge revenue maker for the city, than you aren’t intelligent enough to even operate a vehicle.
    To me, speed cameras would DECREASE SAFETY. When you’re constantly staring at your speedometer because you’re afraid you could possibly be exceeded the speed limit by a few miles, then you aren’t concentrating on the road. Your eyes can’t be focused on both driving and looking at the speedometer at the same time.

  • Jim

    If speed cameras are truly only about safety and not about revenue, then any fine revenue generated by these cameras should go to the State of Illinois and not to the City of Chicago. The State can either use this revenue to help reduce its budget deficit or distribute it among all municipalities in Illinois on a per capita basis.
    I have a feeling the Mayor of Chicago might take issue with this, don’t you???

    • dby

      remember what they said about the lottery. the money will go to the schools to help the tax payers. only thing i see it help was noting.

      • Jim Hamilton

        Come on now how do you think Daley paid for his security detail?

        Chicago is turning into one huge cesspool of criminals put a fence around it and take away their right to vote.
        By the way.
        Hi there Chicago it’s me from down state illinois. Hows the anti gun laws working out for ya. When will you idiots up there wake up and see your anti carry laws only dis arm the law abiding guys and keep the bad guys with their guns safer?

        Like hell take my family to Chicago getting them all killed in a drive up like so many others I read about doesn’t sound like fun to me oh yeah and in Chicago the criminals carry guns but I can’t hahaha NO THANK YOU CHICAGO!

  • Jim Hamilton

    I like the way the poll says vote either for safety or for revenue but no third option just another strongarm tactic on it’s citizens

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