SAFETY ZONE painted on California Avenue, immediately south of North Avenue.
There are four news stories in this edition of Grid Bits.
The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications announced two weeks ago that it will be testing speed cameras from Monday, December 3 (yesterday), to Thursday, January 3.
“City officials are testing both mobile camera systems and permanent camera systems, which will be temporarily installed at:”
- McKinley Park, at approximately 2223 W. Pershing Road
- Warren Park, at approximately 6541 N. Western Ave
- Dulles Elementary School, at approximately 6340 S. King Drive
- Near North Montessori School, at approximately 1446 W. Division
The Department of Transportation will install signs that tell drivers no citations will be issued.
You may have noticed “SAFETY ZONE” being painted on roads around some parks or schools. All grade and high schools, and all Chicago Park District properties, have a 1/8 mile “safety zone” buffer where it’s possible automated speed enforcement cameras could be installed. Lake Shore Drive and expressways are excluded from this monitoring. Signs must be posted 30 days prior to issuing tickets in the zones. Via Chicagoist. Read our past coverage of speed cameras.
Many CTA riders and Chicagoland households don’t have car access
The Chicago Tribune published a series of charts on Sunday describing how many transit riders and households in Chicagoland have access to a car. “Only 44 percent of CTA riders say they own a car, despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s suggestion last week that they have a ‘choice’ of whether to take public transit or drive.”
The U.S. Census Bureau has estimates for a different metric, according to the Tribune’s charts, measuring car access for all transit riders in a given locale:
- Across the United States, 37.2% of workers 16 and older take transit and don’t own a car
- In Chicago, 38.8% of workers 16 and older take transit and don’t own a car
- In Chicagoland, 28.3% of workers 16 and older take transit and don’t own a car
One of the questions in the American Community Survey (ACS) is “How many automobiles, vans, and trucks of one-ton capacity or less are kept at home for use by members of this household?” In the 2009-2011 3-year estimates of the ACS, 748,592 households had 1 or more workers. 15% of these households didn’t have a vehicle available. In all households (0 or more workers) 27% didn’t have a vehicle available*.
Charts about transit and car ownership in Chicago, its suburbs, and the United States, by Katie Nieland for the Chicago Tribune.
Traffic safety bills in Illinois legislature
1. The Illinois Senate may vote on a bill this week that would allow the Illinois Secretary of State to issue a driver’s license to illegal immigrants provided they pass the same exams as everyone else. The bill is SB0957 and sponsored by Illinois Senator John Cullerton. It would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to allow a person to apply for a temporary driver’s license when they are “unable to present documentation issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services authorizing the person’s presence in this country” (see bill text); the person, in their application, would have to provide a valid, unexpired passport from the person’s country of citizenship, or consular identification. The design of the license issued to this person would explicitly communicate that it cannot be used for identification. Read our previous articles on this topic.
2. Illinois Senator Dan Duffy (26th District, far northwest suburbs, Lake County) has introduced a bill (SB3926, November 14, 2012, “Gabby’s law”) that extends the amount of “grace period” a driver has to stop and return to the scene of a crash (or report it at the nearest police station) in which they are involved for it to be considered a hit-and-run. The period would increase from 30 minutes to 48 hours. It would classify the failure to return as a “Class 1 felony and shall be sentenced to a mandatory term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years”. If there was a fatality, the prison term would be 20 years minimum.
The existing state statute classifies hit-and-runs differently, as Class 4 and Class 2 (if there’s a death) felonies. It doesn’t have a mandatory prison sentence.
Bus lanes on I-90 expressway
Construction will begin in 2013 to rebuild and widen the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (also known as I-90). Pace suburban bus operator runs two routes on I-90 and plans to add four more. “Pace has obtained nearly $39 million in federal funding to develop the Addams bus service”, according to a Chicago Tribune article last month.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), a federally-designated regional planning organization, advocates for using the new lanes for buses and charging a higher price to allow drivers opt for a congestion-free trips (called HOT lanes).
CMAP recently launched a congestion pricing campaign to implement express toll lanes on five GO TO 2040 expressway projects, including the additional new lane planned for I-90, to manage traffic and give drivers choices. The Tollway received federal funding last year to study the potential for managed lanes on I-90.
The Tribune article mentions the demise of Metra’s STAR Line, saying funding has “all but disappeared”. Pace also plans to build four park-and-ride stations along the tollway. The Illinois Tollway Authority’s CEO Kristi Lafleur recognizes the need to diversify uses of the highways:
Lafleur said she’s not worried [about having fewer drivers and cars on the highway, its primary revenue source]. As the northwest region continues to grow, the need for mobility will continue as well, she said.
Construction actually begin this year; it will continue until 2016, and stretch from Rockford to Rosemont.
A Metro Transit articulated bus is driven in the HOT lane of I-394 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A HOT lane is a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane that can be used by vehicles that fail to meet the HOV requirement for a toll. It’s typical that transit buses can use them for free. In some jurisdictions, other vehicles or user classifications can use the HOT lanes: drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles; motorcyclists; emergency vehicles. Photo by Andy Tucker.
* The ACS table is called NUMBER OF WORKERS IN HOUSEHOLD BY VEHICLES AVAILABLE / B08203. Updated 09:35 to add more information about Duffy’s bill. 21:47 to add immigrant driving bill as passed in Illinois Senate.
Grid Chicago is a blog about sustainable transportation matters, projects and culture in Chicago and Illinois, by John Greenfield and Steven Vance since June 2011. We switched to writing at Streetsblog Chicago in January 2013.
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