Chicago Speed Camera Cash Grab

Chicago Speed Camera Cash Grab
Speed Camera (Image: M. Tercha Chicago Tribune)

Everyone and their mother knows that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would rather sock it to residents and visitors with schemes instead of resorting to raising taxes. And by not raising taxes, Emanuel has a political pawn to play the next time he campaigns. But hitting up anyone and everyone by implementing "blind taxes" off their backs is something that only scumbags do to improve their bottom line. Besides with the addition of up to 300 speed cameras there will be vague and deceptive rules governing them.

And the greatest deception will effect those least familiar with the terrain!

Yet Rahm Emanuel has said from the beginning that the only purpose of these speed cameras are for safety reasons. Well if that is the case then why not use them as a warning device for say a year after installation so people can be educated properly? I mean safety and education go hand in hand right?

But that won't happen because this is nothing more than a Chicago Speed Camera Cash Grab!

And the company, American Traffic Solutions (ATC), which has earned the right to install and implement this program has all but confirmed it when they announced that after "a month-long test of the automated camera system indicate the city could reap well into the hundreds of millions of dollars in the program's first year."

Well, considering that Rahm Emanuel had hoped that some $30 million per year would be collected he must be tickled "money green" after learning that the one-month test revealed a staggering $4.7 million would have been collected in that period had tickets been issued.

But I find it extremely strange that ATC's numbers were able to mark 51,701 violations versus another competing firm's 41,540. Naturally that extra 10,000 violations would probably help everyone's bottom line in the 5-year $67 million contract, right? Almost sounds like the old days when speed guns were "tweaked" by municipal police departments to register a higher speed than what was actually read.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I would be real careful when it comes to trusting the intentions of government and a business that needs to make a "catch" in order to make a profit and justify its overhead and ability to effectively run the program.

Thank goodness my trips into Chicago are limited to doctor appointments and since he is getting way old now, that may change soon. Point is I have avoided going into the city as much as I can despite my love for its museums and other attractions. But I refuse to pay insane parking prices, increased taxes on everything and then having to worry about getting caught in a speed trap to boot.

There are many other places to go without the extra worries and/or cash outlay.

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  • On your last point, I would take Metra. While that's choosing my crooks, at least I know that those crooks will only be getting the fare, rather than running a lottery on whether a speed camera is after me.

    Of course they are all for the cash, as indicated by such things as Tribune stories with Lake Zurich sending out tickets to drivers making right turns on the right green arrow, because leaves were in the camera's way.

    On the other hand, it seems like Chicago drivers on side streets love to speed and violate red lights. One time I stopped for a red and someone zipped around me on the right. Was on Jeffery at 71st, so I suppose that driver didn't care that there was the potential of being stuck by a train.

    In any event, I wonder how Northfield is getting by since its 4 cameras (including one apparently in Northbrook) have been yanked out due to construction on Willow Road. They were crying last year when the "no turn on red sign" was removed in front of the Northbrook one. Also, since the Tribune said that most of the tickets were for right turn on red other than T boning, I wonder how stopped up the right turn lanes are at Milwaukee and Dundee in Wheeling. Again, I avoid making a right turn there, but go around the block.

  • In reply to jack:

    METRA would be an option on weekdays but not weekends (when I would be most likely to go down with the family) on the Heritage Corridor from Joliet. The fare of $6.75 one-way is also no bargain per person in addition to being locked into minimal schedule / trains. So I would have to drive down to Aurora and pay for parking in addition to a no bargain fare and restrictions with schedules. Was better when I lived in Lombard so far as METRA goes..oh well.

    While it is true that there are idiots driving on the side streets in Chicago the higher percentage would be caught in that 1 to 6 miles per hour over in my opinion. But those who really abuse speed should get zapped and have no problem with that at all.

    It is funny though while Chicago is expanding exponentially many municipalities (including Schaumburg) have dumped them because people just said fuck it instead of going to their Mall, they will elsewhere. So there is a lesson to be learned there.

    And of course there is a bigger lesson if that Judge in Ohio is correct regarding the constitutionality of speed cameras: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/27/ohio-speed-camera-contempt/2465791/

    I understand the need for more revenues but what Chicago is doing, in my opinion, is alienating people from wanting to come there and I'll go so far to say that their numbers will drop so far as suburban visitors go who are already tired of higher taxes, higher gasoline prices, ridiculous parking fees, etc.. It is counter-productive in the long run and these cameras will just nail residents as with everything else.

    I have to tell you too earlier this week I took my son into the city for his favorite "Chicago Grub" and had to get off their jam-packed highways at Canal Street and meander the back roads and all along the way all you saw were littered streets with cars that were Denver-Booted. But hey the area around UIC looks terrific since they eliminated Maxwell Street and turned the neighborhood into Yuppieville with no character (and no great aromas from the food vendors that used to be there).

    The upside was where we went had free parking and after we ate and took some more to go - we booked it back to the burbs. But I would never let my kid down so there will be the rarity - but it is a rarity my friend.

  • 1. Metra has the $7 weekend pass. Even if you use it on one round trip, is still is about half the one-way fare. Joliet also has the Rock Island District which runs weekends. Otherwise going from Plainfield to Niles, I would take Ill.83. Not as fast as the tollway, but not ripping you off $1.50 to $1.90 a plaza.

    2. Schaumburg was the obvious one of "do you want the sales tax or the fines" when it came down to a boycott being proposed. The camera in question was too close to Woodfield.

    3. Ohio was more of an instance that some villages were getting too abusive with regard to speed traps, before the days of cameras (according to Car & Driver). Sort of like if Posen or Dixmoor each had jurisdiction over 1/4 mile of I-57.

    4. I rarely have the need to go downtown for that sort of stuff. My impression of The Taste became "bring your brown pants, and Eli's Cheesecake is available everywhere" and of "Check Please" as "Either too expensive, or I wouldn't park my car in the neighborhood." The higher parking fees deterred me from driving downtown about 17 years ago.

    5. It is going to be real hard for Chicago to use the streets as a revenue source if Gabe Klein succeeds in making them unusable for vehicular traffic.

    6. The news stories about "we can't let the kids walk to school" have already conveyed the message you did about the littered streets, emphasizing littered with drug needles.

    7. Anyway, the real donkey dung will hit the fan when the city will need the money to fund pensions in accordance with the mandate mentioned earlier that they do it.

  • In reply to jack:

    I guess I will take these in order Jack:
    1. Forgot about Rock Island (goes to show you how often I have used Joliet Station) but from where I live on the far west side it would mean paid parking at depot and worrying about stray gunshots on the way downtown plus I am not one that likes limited schedule times. And yes 83 (Kingery out here) is a good route as is 53 and used often.
    2. Correct
    3. Yes and no - we have stretches here where there are traps and/or thise sneaky mobile speed cameras. Abuse? We have our share (at least out here).
    4. My boy and I firmly believe the Hero's Submarine Sandwiches (across from Lane Tech) are worth the ride. We have Jimmy John's and Quizno's here but just aren't the same. Another place we like in the city is Maries Pizza on Lawrence near Pulaski but that is probably because that is the old neighborhood and has more to do with good memories of a bad time. If you like thin crust, though, we recommend it and maybe Father and Son (the original on Milwaukee). Suburban Cook County and or DuPage has us going to Al & Joes in Franklin Park and Marios II Deli on Green Street in Bensenville for our Italian Subs (and they are good!); Niles of course is where our Butcher is: Schmeissers and have been going there for 30+ years and the grandsons have kept the quality of meats high just like founder and late friend - simply won't go anywhere else for our meat. Last but not least Paradise Pup on River Road in Des Plaines is another favorite stop. Of course most times the visits coincide with my regularly scheduled doctors appointment but like for sons' birthday we will take a ride.

    So much like you Chicago and its riduculous fees have limited our excursions and knock on wood - no parking fees involved for our "hot spots."

    6, 7 & 8 A resounding Yes! and p.s. CPS problems this year are in direct relation to pension funding mandate this year. And still Rahmbo refuses to look at TIF Reserves? Pshaww.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I might check out Paradise Pup, but I figure that Lou Malnati's is about as close to the old Uno's as I am going to get.

    The TIF issue hasn't been mentioned much lately. The last I heard about it was when Daley installed Huberman as head of CPS (apparently when the options ran out) and when asked, he said something about "TIF built a couple of schools." But all that money has to be hiding somewhere.

  • In reply to jack:

    If you like Chedder Burgers you will really enjoy Paradise Pup; beware though the cheese is melted and looks like the artificial goo they put on Nachos bit it isn't it is Melted Merkts. mmmm. And shakes to die for btw. Lou Malnati's a classic especially the one in Lincolnwood. Hard to duplicate the original Uno's though. To this day when it comes to North vs South I prefer all the years I lived north. So many great places to eat. The greatest south side establishments are now long gone; like the Barn, Dunlap's etc.. Just fast food chain shit around here an no character (at least in my immediate area).

    TIF's? Not heard about? Surprise, surprise, surprise - there's plenty of money in them thar hills padre.

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