Gompers Park Speed Cameras Are A Scam

Gompers Park Speed Cameras Are A Scam
Speed Camera (Image: M. Tercha Chicago Tribune)

I have said it before that these new speed cameras Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wanted to so desperately have to protect school children was just another revenue generating scam to relieve the average citizens of tens of millions of dollars from their pocket books. Well, now that the first of these cameras have been strategically positioned to protect those precious children my assertion has been confirmed. At least with the one on the North-Side of the city at the intersection of Pulaski Road and Foster Avenue. And believe me when I say this – I am more than well acquainted with the area because I attended Alessandro Volta Elementary School which is the nearest Chicago Public School and/or Private Institution to that intersection.

While the the attendance boundaries may have changed some since I last went there, I still know that there is no school crossing at the intersection of Pulaski and Foster. Period! Matter of fact, even an argument of a park being there is kind of stretch because that little triangular strip that is technically part of the park is not an area kids would frequent or play at.

It is basically a fricking CTA bus stop!

Sure there is a Little Gomp’s and Big Gomp’s but the entrances and paths which connect the two sides of Gompers Park are two blocks to the south and about eight blocks to the west. So if Rahm Emanuel really wanted to protect the kids at Gompers Park then the ideal location for a speed camera would be at the intersection of Keeler and Foster Avenues.

Now there is another park as well. Eugene Field (which like Gomp’s is divided by a winding North Branch of the Chicago River) but its entrance is at Avers and Foster Avenues. That makes it four blocks to the east of these new speed cameras. Yes the Eugene Field Athletic Field and Picnic Area faces Foster Avenue and extends eastward from Avers to just before Central Park Avenues, but there are no schools on Foster Avenue all the way from Gompers Park To Eugene Field! So a camera at Pulaski and Foster does nothing for kids at the park.

And as I said earlier, the nearest school to those speed cameras is Volta Elementary which is located at Avers and Argyle Avenues. And that is more than a half-mile from the intersection in question and since all foot traffic to the school would have to go southward from Foster Avenue there is absolutely no need for a speed camera to be placed where they are if this initiative is solely about child safety.

Volta Elementary

So those Gompers Park Speed Cameras are a scam.

But I have written about this before. Child safety appears to be the last thing the mayor of Chicago is looking at with these cameras, especially the one’s at Pulaski and Foster. Unless of course Rahm Emanuel is somehow worried about the ghosts of long dead corpses from the Bohemian National Cemetery having trouble crossing the road to attend classes at Volta Elementary School?

This is nothing more than a fast cash grab to infuse city coffers.

So you see Mister Mayor I feel very comfortable calling you out on this one. I am, however, sure that the reason you had workers install those cameras where you did was because vehicular traffic at that intersection has been known to be troublesome over the years. Again, I am very familiar with that location as I still go through it occasionally.

But I must admit that I prefer taking Peterson Avenue whenever coming to the old neighborhood to see the family doctor. And guess what? The intersection of Peterson and Pulaski have long had red light cameras installed there, but at least there is actually a high school on the northeast corner to justify this rationale that it is about child safety. Although I suspect nabbing a few startled drivers whenever the Fire Department traps cars in the middle of the intersection while backing-up their emergency vehicles less than a quarter block away brings in a decent amount of funny money for the city.

But Pulaski and Foster? Child Safety? Yeah – Not So Much!

So why don’t you just admit that the real intent here is to catch as many speeders as possible and make an insane profit while doing so Mister Mayor? Now I am sure most folks would agree that those who routinely speed or blow off red lights should be fined. But come on at least tell the truth man! People would understand that.

But until you do – those Gompers Park Speed Cameras are a scam!



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  • A cash grab by Lord Mayor Rahm? Never! I mean, never ending, that is.

    If our little Lord wanted to protect "the children", he would let the Chicago police do what they are supposed to do, without the imported Sheriff of Noddinghead from New Jersey, and would work to get rid of the chronie elected judges who set up revolving doors for gang-bangers going in and out of prison.

    How many children have been killed by speeding cars near schools vs gangs that can't or won't shoot straight?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard Davis your last paragraph says it all. Thanks so much for reading and commenting (and adding the colorful nicknames - love em!).

  • You mean that some little kid isn't going to run out of Bohemian National Cemetery and get run over?

    I wonder if this is going to be like the red light cameras, and catch CTA bus 6798 speeding, and send CTA a ticket, which it will pay out of general operating (i.e. sales tax) funds?

    Like I said on some law Chicago Now blog that was there then but not now, if the real concern were traffic enforcement, put a cop on the corner. The officer could at least identify the driver and a conviction would put points on his or her license.

    Also, if they really wanted to cut speed, they could be like Glenview and put up "Your Speed" signs, although Glenview doesn't always put the speed limit sign on top of them. Those are usually laser devices with an LED display reading out your speed.

    I mentioned earlier that Northfield said that its budget was hurting because one of its red light cameras (which appeared to be in Northbrook) was taken down, and that subsequently all were taken down for road construction. Several of the hyperlocal newspapers have had stories that IDOT said that the cameras are not going back up because the reconstructed intersections won't need them. I wonder where Northfield is going to get its money now.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack - A Hackney's Tax? Then again are they even in Northfield? It seems to me if they wanted to make some money just put a cop by the on and off ramps to the Edens as you suggested above.

    I suppose I understand the need for revenue and again have no problem with municipalities doing so - all I ask is that they tell the truth about their intentions. That way those who are busted realize that they like actually broke the law and that it won't be tolerated.

    It is just this ulterior motive crap that fries me - such bullshit especially when the kids that are supposed to be protected are not as is the case at Pulaski and Foster.

    I also don't mind the portable signs that municipalities use to caution drivers what their speed is - I mean I get that. Even red light cameras in accident prone areas aren't a bad idea - but Chicago and other places are literally "flooding their streets" with these devices to make BoKu Monies that become what? Funny Money for politicians to squander!

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Both Hackney's are in Glenview (Harms or Lake). There could have been a Gale Gand restaurant tax, except that one keeps closing and reopening.

    The hyperlocal articles also indicated that the Willow exit was going to be redone.

    On the red light camera issue, I'm surprised that no one has figured out how to use them for all the 4 way stops signs on Halsted between 99th and 128th. They sure slow traffic, which probably means that folks from the hood are running them.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yeah kinda thought so after writing that. Man used to love their Onion Ring Cube! What's the deal with Gale Gand? Ownership issues?

    Wouldn't surprise though about 99th and 128th have gone through there many a time when the wife and I go to her old house in Evergreen.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Other than her split with Tramanto (of which I learned when Ming visited Gand in her home in Riverwoods, and Tramanto in Vernon Hills about 5 years ago), it seems more like attention deficit disorder. Tramanto just pulled his name off all the restaurants in the Wheeling Westin.

    That location (310 Happ Road) now is listed as a tapas restaurant.

    BTW. on Ming's show Gale had a recipe that anyone can do.
    Moscato Sorbet:
    1. Put an ice cream maker and a container in the freezer for a couple of hours.
    2. Pour a bottle of muscato into the ice cream maker and let it run for about a half hour.
    3. Put the sorbet into the container and back into the freezer.

  • In reply to jack:

    Interesting indeed thanks for the update on that. It sure has been a while since I bounced around Northfield (but I did once). I used to love this restaurant further north on 43 and Dundee - really enjoyed that place.

    p.s. the wife thanks you for the Muscato Sorbet yum can't wait till she makes it.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Probably wasn't on that corner (2 forest preserves, a gas station and a dumpy strip mall), but there was an Italian restaurant at the corner of Shermer and Waukegan (Ill.43) that was torn down for a Walgreens.

    And thank Gale and Ming. Ming added something to do with Lychees, but that wasn't memorable.,

  • In reply to jack:

    Holy Crap on a Stick Jack Alzheimer's has finally invaded my space; I meant Waukegan Road and Rockland Road (176) and there was also a bar in Ronout on the north side of 176 that had the best damn burgers and beer. I am so sorry for memory lapse.. Hell should know the area by heart given I was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base long enough. sheeeeeeesh.

  • fb_avatar

    Make no mistake speed scameras are NOT about safety!

    Safety is pulling over a driver endangering others, not sending a bill weeks later.

    The "school" zone scams are nothing new. Just last week another town was BUSTED using a "school" zone OUTSIDE ILLEGALLY!

    Quote: Quote: He did the math and found the school zone is more than a 1,000 feet away from where students attend Saghalie Middle School. Cramer made a map and checked state law.

    "You have a statute that says the school zone can only be 300 feet from the border of the school,"

    Read more on other School Zone Scams:

    camerafraud on Facebook

  • In reply to Stephen Donaldson:

    I hear you Stephen. But as I have said before and despite my dislike for them - just tell the damn truth on the intent. And that is something that never happens in Chicago (and apparently elsewhere).

    Thanks for reading and commenting I really appreciate it.

  • fb_avatar


    1. Non functioning yellow light (or burned out bulb).
    Quote: “The lights on the “SPEED LIMIT 20 WHEN FLASHING” were not flashing so motorists thought the speed limit was the normal 35 mph.”
    The cameras, however, were rigged for 20 mph. FLash! Flash!
    One upset motoriosts e-mailed The News Tribune: “The city can’t have it both ways. You can’t give someone a ticket if the WHEN FLASHING sign isn’t on.”

    2. Using Speed Scamera in school zone where school was CLOSED.
    Quote: The problem: A Southwest Baltimore school closed in June, but the "school zone" signs — and a speed camera — remain.

    Now, the parking lot off Desoto Road is filled with the vehicles of employees of St. Agnes Hospital, not school faculty. But yellow "school zone" signs at the intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Desoto still remind drivers to slow down, and a red light and speed enforcement camera monitor their behavior.

    William Debord, who lives in the Morrell Park neighborhood, drives his grandson past the former Gibbons campus through that intersection to Mount St. Joseph High School, and he often sees the speed camera flash when drivers turn right on red. A sign bars right turns onto Desoto between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. — traditional school hours.

    "I think it's ridiculous to have it that way now," Debord said. "There's no school there."

    3. Using Speed Scamera in ILLEGAL SCHOOL ZONES.
    Quote: “The City of Winnipeg set up an illegal school zone on Henderson Highway which police have been using to ticket motorists with photo radar, a judicial justice of the peace has ruled.

    This is the case of David MacKay, who received a $215 photo radar ticket in an area police claim is a school zone on Henderson Highway just north of Bonner Avenue.
    The ticket was thrown out of court last week.

    There are signs designating the area as a school zone. But according to court transcripts obtained by the Winnipeg Sun, judicial justice of the peace Weldon Klassen ruled that not only did the photo radar operator not know where the school in question was, he said the zone itself violates the province's Highway Traffic Act.”

    4. Playing with trigger speeds to increase "violations" though not mentioning school zones, if this can be done here in one zone, it can be done in ANY zone!) IN fact a few years ago AZ tried to do this.
    Quote: Under the current program, for example, a vehicle must be accused of traveling 11 MPH above the speed limit before Redflex can mail a photo citation. The Redflex legislation eliminates this buffer and allows the issuance of tickets for driving as little as 1 MPH over the limit in either a school zone or highway work zone.

    5. Using school zone scameras during summer when school is out (also on holidays too).
    Quote: Speed cameras in Lakewood and Auburn, Washington will continue to issue speeding tickets worth $189 to $784 each in school zones even though students are home for the summer. Both cities claim that a free lunch program brings enough children into the area during the break to require automated ticketing efforts between 6am and 6pm daily.

    6. Not posting school zone hours to confuse drivers. Quote: Twenty mile-per-hour school zone speed limits return to many neighborhoods this week during "restricted hours." What times would that be? Oh, that's going to require an educated guess, folks.

    7. Extend "zone" hours to increase take.
    Quote: Mesa will now ticket motorists if they drive 40 MPH near the Rhodes Junior High School between 7:30am and 6pm, even when no children are present. The road has a 45 MPH speed limit except during school hours, but no flashing warning signs are present to remind motorists to adhere to the lower 35 MPH limit. The city recently extended the school zone hours from 4pm to 6pm.

    8. Creating new "zones" that were never there before speed scameras. Also known as FAKE school zones:
    Quote: The Prince George's County Government will be holding a public hearing on July 12th on a list of proposed speed camera sites. The list include 55 'established school zones' and 58 sites which are not currently designated school zones, but which would become school zones under the new plan.

    Also see:

    9. Even dubious school zones tickets after school zone has ENDED for the day have even happened:
    Quote: “Babin’s citation was for a school zone speed violation at the intersection of Canal and St.Patrick. The ticket said Babin was going 27 miles per hour on December 16, 2010, but the ticket is time-stamped 3:55 p.m., ten minutes after the school zone expired. “I still got a ticket anyway,” she said.”

    The reality is this is being done more for cash than safety. IN fact a great editorial on it by a former AAA Editor said this:
    Quote: Authorities pitched the cameras as a way to protect children and people trying to cross their own streets. Yet we commonly find the cameras on busy, four- and six-lane roads, in areas that are commercial or sparsely developed.

  • In reply to Stephen Donaldson:

    Sorry Stephen the numerous links put your comment into a pending mode for approval. I normally don't moderate anything so I guess it must be the number of links that trigger that. I did edit the links though but in the future it might be easier to reference back to a site containing these links that way it won't get caught by web software. Thanks again.

  • In reply to Stephen Donaldson:

    I'm sure that the least of Rahm's worries is a definition of a school zone. All he has said is that he wants to enforce the speed limit near parks and schools, and the fines are based on 6 or 11 over the limit.

    In Illinois (at least in the suburbs) the usual police response to a report that someone was speeding in a school zone is "did you see a child?" since the zones are posted "on school days when children are present." No matter if someone passed your car immediately in front of a school at 7:55 a.m.

  • Just to be clear, we are talking about two speed cameras in the general area of Gompers Park. One is located on Pulaski just south of the intersection at Foster Avenue, and another located on Foster Avenue about two blocks west of Pulaski. Candidly, many residents of North Mayfair are puzzled by the location of the Pulaski camera - popular opinion holds that a better location would have been at/near the entrance to Irene Hernandez Forest Preserve, where cars start their high speed race through our neighborhood. And while you may have attended Volta during the last century, my children currently participate in little league, swim in the pool and enjoy after-school activities at Gompers Park. Here's a little game to play next time you are driving on Foster Avenue observing the 30 mph speed limit past Gompers Park: take a mental note of all the sections of guard rail that appear sporadically along the route. Each piece of guard rail represents an incident where a speeding vehicle jumped the curb and crashed into a bungalow. So we welcome the Child Safety Zone designation and the speed cameras. Is it a money grab, plain and simple? Sure it is, and if you don't want your money grabbed, don't speed past Gompers Park. Plain and simple.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    First and foremost thank you for reading and commenting mrobertson. And one other thing we must consider don't make me older than I am so let's say the last half-century okay? (Jokingly).

    I get your point and again I have absolutely no qualms or complaints about nabbing speeders and reckless drivers. I am a cautious and defensive driver and haven't had a ticket in so long I can't remember when it was so don't worry I don't intend speeding past Gomp's or anywhere else. But here's the thing too, The park hasn't changed all that much since I played there and even remember the pool being built and using the hills in wintertime, etc, etc.. Most of the park is well protected (at least Little Gomp's).

    Even the larger park is well protected except for maybe the Fieldhouse area at Keeler and there I could see a camera being placed. But Pulaski and Foster? Hell no and that's the point - unless of course Rahm would like to just fess up this is purely about vehicular traffic there. No school children cross that intersection even today a half century later. So let's be honest with that one. Heck I would put cameras at Avers. Keeler and as you say down near Kilpatrick. I know the Forest Preserve well and that strip was notorious for speeding in my youth.

    There is a fundamental problem though - it seems the further west we go on the Northwest side the less police coverage. Especially west of Jefferson Park. In my mind there is no substitute for a police presence (in addition to well-placed cameras). I would rather see habitual speeders get nailed with a strike against their license than getting off with a mail-in ticket you know? What happened to the three moving violations rule anyway?

    But yes as I go to my appointment tomorrow I will make a mental note of the guardrails you mentioned. Thanks for the background on that by the way.

    Last but not least - I think city residents should be given the truth rather than some of these mind games Rahm is known for. And mark my words, that money generated (tens of millions) will be squandered and "lost" before everything is said and done. And eventually you will be strong-armed into another "blind tax."

    Personally, I rather see cops doing their job instead of this mail order crap as it only perpetuates bad behavior in the long run.

    Again, thanks for the read and the comment it is appreciated even though we may not agree 100% (but more than not just the same).

  • fb_avatar

    No one who has followed the speed camera issue at all could possibly think they were about safety. Speed cameras can produce profits ONLY when they are placed in locations where the posted speed limits are well below the current, actual, safe traffic flow speeds. They are a total scam for money - in this case to add to the obscene profits Emperor Rahm already gets from the predatory red light camera scam.

    Chicago residents need to vote the Mayor and every ticket camera supporter out of office. The graft and corruption the cameras bring is unacceptable - but is so profitable that the people who get the money will never give it up voluntarily.

    The only hope is to elect some honorable people to Council and the Mayor's chair if they pledge to end all the ticket camera uses.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association (frequent Chicagoland visitor, but I come less often to spend tourist dollars because of the predatory ticket camera scams)

  • In reply to jcwconsult:

    James C. Walker - Thank You! First for reading and commenting but also interjecting some common sense from a voter perspective. Everything you said here is true and I applaud your candor. Especially about coming less often to spend tourist dollars as that is a common refrain in my posts. The fact that I fled Chicago for the burbs due to the inherent corruption tax was one thing but never deterred me from taking the kids to the city for the sights and sounds it offers - until, that is - this insatiable money grab began shortly after the selling of public assets began. Now my visits are limited to my doctor appointments and our butcher in Niles (still Cook County but luckily food is taxed greatly). That's it! No more baseball games, football games, museums, Navy Pier, etc. By the time you add up the cost of those attractions and the parking and then having to worry someone will rear end you because you won't go with the traffic flow because of the cameras - well screw them. There are other places more accommodating to visitors and while not exactly the same as Chicago's beauty - they suffice and are more pleasurable.

    Thanks for confirming exactly what I have been saying in my posts. I feel vindicated.

  • Yes, we agree more than we disagree. I retract the implication that you were classmates with Samuel Gompers at Volta Elementary. The speed camera on Pulaski is a real head-scratcher -- the intersection of Foster & Avers would have been an excellent spot for it. Just for grins, I have posted an article with the opposing viewpoint. Not to be combative but the article cites some very compelling statistics re: the efficacy of speed cameras. We can all agree Rahmulus is a money-grabbing despot, but maybe the damn cameras will actually slow down traffic on Foster. We hope.


  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Not to worry mrobertson, I don't find you combative rather a concerned parent as I am. Yeah that crack of half century vs century was just a moment lightener if you will. Yes it has been awhile (graduated in 69) but I do go back and was in the area again today for my doctors appointment. I did however do the Foster route as opposed to my usual Nagle / Bryn Mawr / Forest Preserve / Peterson path. Way too many guardrails so I see your point. But we do agree more than disagree and that is a good start - so I think my contention that Keeler & Foster / Avers & Foster would still be more appropriate than Pulaski (even though Pulaski / Foster is still the same bottleneck with half left interlopers). Hopefully the cameras do slow down the traffic though because no one wants anyone to die or be maimed by irresponsible drivers. Thanks for your link I will take a gander after settling in (just got back from city). Again, thanks for reading and I think we both have some decent arguments here and ones where compromise is warranted to achieve the same safety concerns. And yes Rahmulus is Rahmulus - 1000% agreement on that.

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