Residents, Officials Question Need For More Speeding Cameras

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 11, 2012 8:34PM

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Image Credit: -Tripp-
While Mayor Emanuel continues to champion the idea of installing speed cameras throughout the city, particularly near schools and parks, some Chicago residents are singing a different tune.

The Expired Meter surveyed all 50 ward offices to get a feeling for how Chicagoans feel about the plan to catch speeding motorists via red light cameras and cameras in vans. While some wards said they hadn’t received any calls from constituents and others didn’t divulge information, at least 14 have seen large opposition to the camera plan. Support is mixed at best in some, but none have seen overwhelming approval.

In addition, the Sun-Times reports Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), whose ward is among those most strongly opposed to speed cameras, questioned their necessity when the city has installed 10,000 speed humps and 450 cul-de-sacs since 2005. Waguespack told the Sun Times:

“With the 10,000 speed humps, they were obviously spending money on it, so it has to be working. What I said to them was, show me that none of these things have worked around schools and parks and maybe you have an argument for speed cameras. You could use a speed camera where you have an indication that there’s speeding — on a major thoroughfare like Milwaukee or Western. But, that’s not where they’re looking.”

The Chicago Current cites studies in Britain that indicate those speed humps and cul-de-sacs may do more to reduce accidents than cameras. The Financial Times UK (paywall) reported last August at least one official said initial data analysis showed speed cameras “did nothing to enhance safety.” A different study in 2005 showed that cameras reduced accidents by 22 percent, while “vertical deflections” like speed humps reduced accidents by 44 percent.