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City On Speeding Camera Requests: Nothing to See Here

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 30, 2012 2:00PM

Image Credit: -Tripp-
The city sent out requests for proposals for installing the speed cameras Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long touted as a safety measure, but could be a windfall for both the city in the form of traffic tickets and the vendor who winds up with the contract.

The Sun-Times has a copy of the map the city sent out with its bid requests showing how extensive Big Brother could be watching you if and when the full 1,500 cameras are eventually installed. Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Transportation agreed when the ordinance was passed to limit the number of speeding cameras installed under the “Children’s Safety Zone” program to 300 after hearing concerns from aldermen and residents that the camera system would be too pervasive and centered on specific neighborhoods. CDOT spokesman Peter Scales told the Sun-Times they only expect 50 of those 300 cameras to go up this year.

Even the RFPs seem tailored to benefit companies like Resolute Consulting, LLC, the lobbying firm owned by Emanuel ally and political insider Greg Goldner that represents, among other companies, Redflex Camera Systems, the red light camera provider for the city of Chicago.

CDOT spokesman Scott Kulby explained that, once the bids are submitted, select vendors would be asked to set up pilot cameras at locations to see how their technology best monitors a speed zone before the contract is awarded to the winning vendor.

This and the red light cameras currently in use was enough for Sun-Times reporter Art Golab to pen an op-ed asking motorists to stand up and fight.

”We need an organization that will keep the pressure on aldermen and the mayor when anti-car measures such as speed cameras and the parking-meter deal crop up.

“Like the old Motor Club promoted roads, we need a group to demand that the city spend money on new technology to control red-light timing to improve traffic flow.

“While there seems to be plenty of money to install computerized cameras to write tickets, the few streets that have timed lights now depend on mechanical technology that is decades old.

“Some say that for environmental and other reasons, cars should be discouraged, not encouraged.

“I say it is traffic jams, energy-wasting stop signs and inefficiently timed red lights that are an environmental disaster.

“And if all the wasted time is tallied, I’m sure Chicago takes an economic hit as well.

“All of us pay a gridlock tax with our precious time.”