Emanuel To Quinn: Sign Bill To Allow Speed Cameras Near Schools

Updated 01/30/12 – 4:48 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is urging Gov. Pat Quinn to sign legislation that would allow the city to use cameras to catch speeders near city schools and parks.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the mayor says it’s all about saving lives.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The legislation would allow red light cameras near schools and parks to be used to ticket people who speed through those areas.

The Illinois House and Senate approved the measure last fall, but Quinn has yet to sign it, saying he is still studying the idea. He has until early next month to take action on the proposal or it will automatically become law.

On Monday, the mayor said, “I’ve made out the case. The Legislature has voted on it. I’m hoping the governor signs it, because it’s the right thing to do for the city of Chicago – which has a unique set of issues – and it only applies to Chicago.”

Emanuel said a study shows the legislation could reduce fatal accidents.

“We have seen all the data that show when you put the cameras in – actually – traffic, people comply, and it’s the right thing to do,” Emanuel said. “I didn’t think it was going to be popular. The question is can I save lives.”

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, Chicago was already at or near the top of the list of cities with the most red light cameras. The proposal would allow the city 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.

The mayor said, “If it wasn’t for the fact that both the police chief and the heads of schools came to me and said, ‘We have a problem distinct from other cities,’ I would not have pushed something forward, just because I’m looking for another unpopular issue to tackle.”

The mayor cited accident and injury statistics to justify enabling 79 red light cameras to clock speeds at intersections within 1/8 of a mile of city schools and parks from just before to just after their hours of operation.

But the city’s own study indicated more than 50 percent of all children struck by cars are hit in the middle of the block, not at an intersection.

Self-professed “Parking Ticket Geek” Mike Brockway, who runs “The Expired Meter” website, said, “If the mayor really wants to something about the safety of children coming to and from school, then they should concentrate on the side streets and not at the intersection.”

While the tickets mailed for speed cam violations would range from $50 to $100 dollars and add millions to city coffers, Emanuel said his proposal wasn’t a matter of money.

“I hope I get no revenue out of this,” Emanuel said after announcing his proposal last year.

Three months later, it appears most people remain skeptical. A Freedom of Information request that Brockway issued to the governor’s office might explain Quinn’s apparent reluctance to sign the bill.

Of 224 calls, letters and emails to the governor about the speed camera bill, 91 percent were opposed to it.

“If popularity or perception were my only issue, I’d be sitting in my office, just doing a lot of nothing,” Emanuel said. “That’s not what I’m worried about. I’ll let people take care of that and I understand why people are questioning and they’ll an ability to see how we implement it. My goal is the safety of our children.”

Before enforcement with speed cameras could begin, 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 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.

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 has said he wants to modify to catch speeders and they cover about 3 percent of the city.

But a published report said 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 fine of up to $100 and five unpaid fines would result in the loss of the owner’s driver’s license.

  • Jim Hamilton

    Rahm is more worried about getting those cameras to work so he can catch you hurrying home from the restaurants that don’t have bathrooms in them to use the bathroom than to clean up the cesspool. Why aren’t those cameras watching the neighborhood instead of working people who are running behind to get to works license plates. Running behind because of the big potholes in the road lord knows they have created more danger than going 5 mile an hour over has.

    • Afro

      What study has anyone see this study the hommo Rahm is talking about?

  • edgh

    Gov. Quinn – don’t sign it! Keep postponing it. Then Mayor E will have another good crisis….

  • Stop Lying Rahm

    Yeah, right. Does he think he is kidding anyone when he says this isn’t about revenue generation? I would love to see the statistics of the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths that these cameras would allegedly prevent. It is nothing but a money grab.

  • tom Sharp

    Then we don’t the crossing guards because, by Rahm’s logic, they’re obviously not preventing accidents by schools. What a money-grabbing sham this is!

  • Afro

    Cars do not break laws the drivers do why should you give a ticket to someone when you can’t even prove who was driving the car? This is more bullsh!t that has to stop

  • Jon

    What’s the problem? Don’t speed. I am all for it. Too many reckless and negligent drivers on the city streets.

  • Wolf

    Why do you need speed cameras near schools when most of the speeders are the Police and city vehicles in these zones in fact they violate the no cellphone restrictions outright…these cameras are a waste of more taxpayer dollars …seems like the illegitimate Mayor is good are spending and wasting funds…incompetent at every level…

    • Joe

      Speed limits and cell phone bans do not apply to law enforcement. Where have you been??

  • WetNurse

    Do the right thing for once Quinn, do NOT sign this garbage!

  • Karol Rozanek

    Cars don’t break laws, drivers do. Unless they can prove who was driving, the ticket is illegal. I can borrow my car legally to anyone I want and I am not legally liable for any crime they commit with my car.This is the same as blaming guns for violence or plaming a pencil for mis-spelling….

  • southside

    Don’t sign it Quinn…socialist Rahm can’t reach into your pocket unless he has a camera everywhere to violate you.

  • Taxpayer

    We now have no reason to complain on this site. Let’s all call Quinn’s office and tell him not to sign that legislation: 312-814-2121

  • http://theexpiredmeter.com/2012/01/geek-talks-speed-cameras-with-cbs-2-on-6-pm-news/ Geek Talks Speed Cameras With CBS 2 On 6 PM News | theexpiredmeter.com

    […] on the bill and claims he knew the idea would be unpopular but we had to do it for the children according to a report by Newsradio 780 AM. In fact he’s urging Gov. Quinn to sign the bill to save the lives of more kids. “We have […]

  • http://www.cdobs.com/archive/chicago/public-tells-quinn-to-halt-speed-enforcement-cameras/ Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Public tells Quinn to halt speed-enforcement cameras

    […] Emanuel To Quinn: Sign Bill To Allow Speed Cameras Near Schools [CBS Chicago]  […]

  • non

    HA! Same old arguement. It has nothing to do with saving lives. Its just another money grabbing scam

  • non

    Ramn hopes it does not generate any revenue from the cams???? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! Thank you Ramn. You’re funny. You just brightened up my day with a good joke

  • ugottabeklidding

    Rahm iis a liar. It’s that simple..

  • http://www.rentcafe.com/blog/cities/chicago-il/can-we-put-a-stake-in-the-speed-camera-bill-please/ Can we put a stake in the speed camera bill, please? | RENTCafe rental blog

    […] Emanuel To Quinn: Sign Bill To Allow Speed Cameras Near Schools (chicago.cbslocal.com) […]

  • http://theexpiredmeterchicago.com/2012/02/geek-talks-speed-cameras-with-cbs-2-news-at-6/ Geek Talks Speed Cameras With CBS 2 News At 6 | theexpiredmeterchicago.com

    […] on the bill and claims he knew the idea would be unpopular but we had to do it for the children according to a report by Newsradio 780 AM. In fact he’s urging Gov. Quinn to sign the bill to save the lives of more kids. “We have […]

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