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City Will Eliminate 50 Red Light Cameras

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 9, 2015 2:30PM

Chicago’s red light camera network has become a campaign issue in the mayoral runoff as the city announced Sunday it would remove 50 red light cameras at 25 intersections across the city. The cameras at these intersections stopped issuing tickets as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 6.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld and a host of aldermen at a news conference at LaFollette Park on the city’s West Side Sunday to announce the move, which comes days after Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Emanuel’s challenger in the April 7 runoff, said he would eliminate the program entirely if elected.

Emanuel said the removal of the cameras is part of his administration’s ongoing efforts to reform a program that had been plagued by scandal under his predecessor Richard M. Daley.

“Since taking office, I have instituted a number of reforms to the program, including firing the original vendor, removing 82 cameras at 41 intersections, working with the Inspector General to review the program, strengthening oversight, using improved technology and adding more public transparency. The reforms we are announcing today build on this work to allow for increased community input, enhanced public safety and improved transparency.”

The removal of the cameras came after a review of 2013 crash data from the Illinois Department of Transportation. The intersections chosen had not experienced any right angle (or “T-bone”) crashes, or only one right angle crash and a “total crash rate” of less than one crash per million vehicles annually. Last year, CDOR removed 32 cameras at 16 intersections.

The mayor also announced an amnesty program for first-time offenders who receive a ticket from a red light camera to participate in an online traffic safety course instead of receiving a $100 fine. Emanuel called the option “a mulligan.”

The mayor will introduce an ordinance at the next City Council meeting requiring community meetings before red light cameras are removed, added or relocated.

The 25 intersections where the cameras will be removed are located at:

- Ashland and 47th
- Ashland and 63rd
- Ashland and Archer
- Ashland and Diversey
- Ashland and Garfield
- California and 31st
- Central and Madison
- Cicero and Stevenson Expressway
- Cornell and 57th
- Cottage Grove and 95th
- Damen and Blue Island
- Elston and Foster
- Halsted and 63rd
- Halsted and 83rd
- Harlem and Northwest Highway
- Jeffrey and 79th
- Kimball, McCormick and Lincoln
- Narragansett, 55th and Archer
- Osceola and Touhy
- Pulaski and Montrose
- Stony Island and 83rd
- Vincennes and 111th
- Western Ave and 51st
- Western, Armitage and Milwaukee
- Western and Pratt

Emanuel announced last week that countdown timers would be installed on the remaining red light cameras in the network to reduce the chance of rear-end collisions.