This map shows that 58.8% of Chicago streets, excluding highways, are eligible for speed camera enforcement. Open the map.
The Expired Meter has been tracking the speed camera issue very well. (Here’s our coverage.) Along with reporting that an ordinance would be introduced to alderman at tomorrow’s monthly City Council meeting, it reported Monday on an interview with Alderman Waguespack who had been briefed on the city’s speed camera goals:
Originally, city officials claimed existing red light camera locations would be utilized to do double duty and be retrofitted to also do speed enforcement.
But, according to Waguespack’s understanding of the briefing presented by officials from the Mayor’s office, Chicago Police Department and Chicago Department of Transportation, the city’s long range goal is to install speed cameras at 1,800 intersections near school and parks under the auspices of slowing down drivers through $50 to $100 fines for speeding near these intersections. The state law calls for cameras to be used within a 1/8 of a mile safety zone surrounding the schools and parks. [They can be used in those areas, and in no other areas.]
Waguespack says, while the speed enforcement will be from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM (9 PM on Friday) the cameras will be filming 24 hours a day, seven days a week and be utilized as a surveillance camera much like the blue light cameras the Chicago Police use to deter crime in high crime areas of the city.
“Essentially this is what they’ll become,” was Waguespack’s takeaway regarding the big brother aspect of the cameras from Monday morning’s briefing.
Three weeks ago, I helped Quinn Yost, a commenter on The Expired Meter I contacted, develop a methodology to determine how much of the city’s streets could be monitored by a speed camera. The Chicago Tribune already made this determination, but I wanted to verify it. They said that 47% of the city would eligible for speed camera enforcement, but it wasn’t clear if that was the portion of land in a safety zone, or the portion of streets within safety zones.
Yost’s conclusion? 12,956,780 of 22,020,032 feet of Chicago streets can be monitored by a fixed or mobile speed camera. 58.8%. View them on a map.
Updated 14:17: Read The Beachwood Reporter’s article about the “Camera Coinkydink”, published today, about the connection between lobbyists, Mayor Emanuel, Redflex (the city’s red light camera operator), and the mayor’s election campaign.
Updated 23:20: The research on red light cameras comes to less of a consensus than the research on speed cameras on their respective abilities to reduce crashes. The Expired Meter also reported today on a CDOT study about the city’s red light cameras. It shows, among other outcomes, that one type of crash decreased and another decrease (read the details there).
Based on the comments I’ve been reading about speed cameras here on Grid Chicago, there on The Expired Meter, and on EveryBlock, it seems that some people believe that research about red light cameras is relevant to speed cameras; I believe they’re disparate and distinct. I welcome links to research that explains or refutes a link. Regardless, I continue to hold the position that speed cameras reduce the prevalence of speeding, and thus reduce injuries (or the severity of them).
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.
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