Bike sharing and speed cameras ordinances pass in today’s Chicago City Council meeting

This article will be updated a few times after publishing while I gather all the information. All regular city council meetings are streamed live with video and transcript and that is where I am getting all of the information.


Alderman Cardenas of the 12th ward speaks in support of the speed camera ordinance.

Bike sharing

Bike sharing passes City Council, 46-1. Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd) was the sole alderman to vote against the ordinance. The system will launch in September 2012.

Margarent Laurino (39th, chair of the committe on pedestrian and traffic safety) gave a prepared statement.

Colón (35th) talks about his experience in Seville, Spain, in March 2011. The city made investments in bicycle facilities, and bike sharing, and saw an enormous increase in the number of people cycling there.

Continue reading Bike sharing and speed cameras ordinances pass in today’s Chicago City Council meeting

Speed camera hearing generates a new question for every one answered (part 1 of 3)


At the head of the room, from left to right: Kelly, Kubly, Klein, Quinn, Laurino, an assistant, Colón, and Cappleman. They are all referenced in the text below. Updated April 13, 2012, 12:35 to add that it passed 7-3. 

I am trying a different method to write this article. The hearing I attended for three hours conveyed a lot of complex information and sentiments and it’s going to be very difficult for me to communicate all of those things, especially for those who’ve never attended or watched a city council meeting or committee meeting. I want Grid Chicago readers to have the best information so they can converse with their aldermen in the next few days about speed cameras before the ordinance goes to the full council for voting on April 18, 2012. With that in mind, I have broken the information into easy to follow sections about what happened (what, when, where, who, why) and, in a second post later today, into categories for what people said (operations, contracts, safety). At the end will a full list of aldermen who spoke and my interpretations of their concerns.

This post is part 1 of 3 about the speed camera hearing. Read part 2 and part 3 (both published Friday, April 13, 2012).

What happened Wednesday

There was a hearing to consider Mayor Emanuel’s proposed update to the existing “automated traffic enforcement system” ordinance in Chicago, more commonly known as the speed camera ordinance, but officially titled “Establishment of Children’s Safety Zones program” (see our full coverage of speed cameras). It’s extremely important to note that there was a revised ordinance that was completed moments before the hearing for the committee to consider. 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman expressed his displeasure at being unable to read the revised ordinance because he didn’t receive it until 5 minutes before the hearing began.

The ordinance passed the committee with a 7 to 3 vote. I am awaiting a roll call for that vote.  Continue reading Speed camera hearing generates a new question for every one answered (part 1 of 3)

Important Chicago city council committee meeting today on bike sharing and speed cameras


A raised crosswalk is one traffic calming device that hasn’t been tried beyond the two installations in the Lincoln Square pedestrian area at Lawrence and Lincoln Avenues. 

Updated 23:53: Today’s meeting was a hearing only about speed cameras. A second meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 13th, 2012, at 10 AM, to consider an ordinance to enter into a contract with Alta for bike sharing and the other agenda items (pdf). Updated Friday, April 13, 2012, 17:15: The committee approved the ordinance to enter into a contract with Alta Bicycle Share. 

The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee rescheduled their important meeting from last week to today at 1 PM in City Council Chambers, 2nd floor of City Hall, 121 N LaSalle Street. The committee, chaired by 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino, will receive a presentation from Chicago Department of Transportation Managing Deputy Commissioner Scott Kubly on bike sharing.

The committee will also be discussing speed camerasContinue reading Important Chicago city council committee meeting today on bike sharing and speed cameras

Was Emanuel saying he would use congestion parking tax for bike lanes a fluke?

It’s been a week and a day since Mayor Emanuel gave a speech to Chicago City Council describing the 2012 budget his administration proposes. In that speech he proposed a $2 per weekday tax on people who park in garages downtown and in River North, in order to “invest in new and existing stations, and bus rapid transit stations, expand bike lanes, and other efforts to reduce congestion in the downtown area”.

In the past eight days, it’s been announced that this “congestion premium” would help pay to construct a new Green Line station at Cermark Road, within blocks of McCormick Place, and help launch a bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

But not a single repeat mention of bike lanes. It wasn’t in the press release, no newspaper is talking about it, and the mayor himself hasn’t mentioned it again. To make sure I wasn’t misreading things or hearing him say it wrong, I took a screenshot of the live transcript on the City Clerk’s website.


Fourth line from the bottom and you see “bike lanes”. Right now the city is using general revenue funds to pay for the installation of protected bike lanes; using its own tax revenues for bikeways is something the city has rarely done – the bulk of all bikeway installation is paid for by federal (80%) and state funds.

Rollin’ beyond coal

On Saturday, I joined a group of people at Daley Plaza who want the Chicago City Council and Rahm Emanuel to pass the Clean Power Ordinance for a demonstration bike ride to Dvorak Park, across Cermak Road from the Fisk coal power plant. Roll Beyond Coal was a short ride from the Loop to Pilsen, through the rain and sun, and with a police escort. It was a small affair, but we joined up with a larger group of people at the park for a couple of speakers and a march through the neighborhood. This post is a photo essay – read more coverage of the Clean Power Ordinance on Steven Can Plan. Photos are posted in chronological order.


More than 50 people rode in the rain to demonstrate to aldermen and the mayor their desire for cleaner air in Chicago.  Continue reading Rollin’ beyond coal

A transportation definition of democracy


Enrique Peñalosa rides his bike. Photo by Colin Hughes. 

I wish I was there to hear Enrique Peñalosa speak to the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian Safety on August 17th. He’s now the director for Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), which I liken to an international version of Chicago’s own Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). Prior to ITDP, he was a mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, where he built a world-renowned bus rapid transit (BRT) called TransMilenio and hundreds of kilometers of bike paths.

Why was he in Chicago? Continue reading A transportation definition of democracy