Lawmakers Approve Speed Cameras For Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — State lawmakers have approved legislation to allow the city of Chicago to use cameras to catch speeders near city schools and parks.

The Illinois House voted 64-50 on Wednesday in favor of the proposal, pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Senate had approved the measure two weeks ago, so it now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his consideration.

The governor’s office said he would review the legislation when it reaches his desk.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

The mayor has been pushing to use existing red light cameras and mobile cameras to catch speeders in the act within 1/8 mile of schools and parks in Chicago.

The cameras 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.

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 earlier this week. “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.”

The mayor has 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 has called the speed cameras just one part of a strategy to increase safety near schools, in addition to deploying more crossing guards, increasing safe passage funds, enforcing a curfew and new cameras inside schools.

Emanuel has said he doesn’t care if the cameras make any money, only that they save lives.

But a secret study obtained by “The Expired Meter” website showed that speed cameras could be a much bigger cash cow for the city than red light cameras.

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 Brockway 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.

Regardless, if Quinn signs off on the legislation, 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.

  • Luke

    The law of unintended consequences. I thought that Rahm was smarter than this. When you slow the citizens of a city down, the city slows down. When you dis-incentivize people from visiting your city, they won’t visit. This is crazy and he must know it.

  • aston

    just another reason to avoid the city. too many hassles to deal with if you don’t have a limo or driver like the fat cats who work for the city.

  • Striker Fire

    This is what the citizens from the City of Chicago get for voting for Rahm Emanuel. They can’t blame anyone but themselves.

    • nicole

      Yep! They thought because Rahm was Obama’s boy that he’d make a difference. Oh what a BAD difference he makes!

  • Vicky Kujawa

    Easiest way not to get a ticket is not to go and spend $$ there. Everything is way cheaper online and no bs 10% sales tax. The end.

  • thinman

    once again the IL lawmakers gave in, and now just wait , in matter of a year, will have it all over IL. GOV. DO NOT SIGN THIS BILL!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jim Hamilton

    Cicago gets reheamed again when will those fools vote the Dems out lololololol

    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 for family fun. 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!

    • labby

      This is a dumb comment. Jim, look past the reporting. I grew up in rural IL and live on the northwest side of Chicago and I feel very safe. For better or worse, the crime is pretty much segregated to just a few parts of the city.

    • southside

      Jim, don’t forget red light cameras, congestion parking taxes, being ticketed for not having a city sticker, or being accosted by beggars or thugs on the street. Mayor Rahm wants everyone to come and spend money in Chicago.

  • Jim Hamilton

    The Chicago Ream machine strikes again! I understand they will hold some kind of educational course for residents and Fck people who travel there for medical treatments such as myself who served for this nation and have loss of limb. Gawd I hate Chicago and everything it stands for! Does anyone care to buy my house? I’de love to get out of this worthless state!

  • LOTD

    ALL ABOUT REVENUE and NOT about safety!!! Fck this city and state!!!

    @Jim H. – thank you for your service and sacrifice!

  • Jim Hamilton

    Agree with you LOTD If Rahm is so worried about the childrens safety those cameras would be amed at taking pictures of the pedos trying to abduct the children and not working peoples lisence plates.
    It would be funny to see residents take to the streets with pickets calling for the repeal.

    P.S. Your welcome

  • Jim

    I will just avoid going to the city at all costs. Too bad because I love visiting the museums, but enough is enough. I promise not to raise taxes, but I will fee you to death!!!

  • tom Sharp

    What exactly does this law say? Will it only be enforced during normal school and park hours? How about weekends at the schools? Will it apply after the parks are closed? If I go 10 MPH over the speed limit at midnight by a school (by the way that is about 30 mph), do I get ticket? There are schools and parks everywhere. If this goes unchecked the city budget might be balanced in 6 months and Rahm may be lynched during a massive public riot!

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