In support of automated speed enforcement

The Chicago Tribune on Thursday published an editorial supporting speed enforcement cameras in Chicago.

We agree. Active Trans this week submitted a letter to the editor to several newspapers to voice our support for reducing crashes by enforcing our speed limits. The Tribune published it, as did the Chicago Journal. Here's the letter we submitted:

As pedestrian and cyclist safety advocates, the Active Transportation Alliance supports state legislation that would allow the city of Chicago to use cameras to enforce speed limits in safety zones around schools and parks. This initiative is a way to make our streets safer, particularly for vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists who do not have the protection of an air bag, seat belt or steel frame.

Studies show that speeding leads to more crashes and deaths. According to research done by the United Kingdom Department of Transportation, at 40 mph, pedestrians survive a crash only about 15 percent of time. At 20 mph, the survival rate for pedestrians is 95 percent.

An analysis of more than 90 studies assessing speed enforcement cameras in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board found an average injury crash reduction of 20 to 25 percent, with more effective programs reducing crashes by more than 50 percent. In 2010, there were more than 3000 recorded pedestrian crashes and nearly 1,600 recorded bicycle crashes in Chicago.

Camera locations should be selected first and foremost to improve safety, not just to generate revenue, and CDOT plans to do this. At the same time, the program will generate revenue, and we are pleased the city plans to use the money to fund safety improvements, including modifying street designs that actually encourage speeding. The long-term goal should be nearly 100 percent compliance, with no violations and no revenue generated.

Speeding drivers make roadways unsafe for vehicle passengers, cyclists, and everyone who uses our sidewalks and parks. Automated speed enforcement that will be allowed under SB 965 will help keep cars within the legal speed limit, save lives and make our neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly.

-- Ron L. Burke, Executive Director, Active Transportation Alliance

I bicycle a great deal in the

I bicycle a great deal in the City and use it as a commuter. I also walk. And I also drive. And I think that the whole speed camera/stop light camera program is a revenue enhancer that ignores the real problem. In Maryland, where I have relatives, the locations of the speed cameras are well known. The drivers drive fast until the know that they are near the speed cameras and then slow down. And they are spending time "looking" for speed cameras and not for those of us not in cars. It makes us less safe. And the City has not addressed the very short yellow light times in Chicago. For those of us who pay attention to the lights, the short yellow is very UNsafe. Consider the intersection of Lincoln/Irving/Damen. I can enter this intersection on my bicycle at a good pace on the Green Light and still be well in the intersection and in the path of cars trying to "jump" the light when it turns red. The City focuses on Speed Cameras because they bring in revenue, and does not focus on things like correctly timed yellow lights, because they do not.

Do not throw away ATA's credibility by climbing into bed with Speed Cameras.

Speeding is breaking the law

When you drive in excess of the speed limit, you are endangering pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists. When you drive in excess of the speed limit, you are breaking the law.

Speed cameras are a tool to use to enforce the law. Think of them as electronic versions of a police officer with a radar gun. Would you argue that the city has no right to post a human police officer with a radar gun at any given intersection in order to enforce a speeding law?

If you don’t like the idea of getting a ticket for speeding, all you have to do is drive within the speed limit. It’s that easy.

speed eforcement cameras

Barnet -  The Tribune story is flawed. Check out my blog about the story.http://www.activetrans.org/blog/rburke/story-sends-wrong-message-about-s...Our support for speed enforcement cameras is grounded in the simple fact that the cameras reduce speeding (making communities more friendly to walking and biking) and they reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths.  We run some bike and pedestrian safety and education programs for the city, and are proud of those programs.  If you think our position on speed cameras would be different but for this, you don't know Active Trans very well.  Ron  

ATA continues to support Big Brother privacy infringements

Active Transportation Alliance continues to ignore the chilling implications of allowing the City of Chicago to install cameras monitoring its citizens as they go about their daily business. ATA's support for Daley's red-light cameras was why I am no longer a member, and its support for Emanuel's school-zone speed cameras is why I will not be joining again anytime soon, despite the fact that I remain a strong supporter of better bike and public transit options for the city. Anyone who believes that safety is the reason behind this mayor's continuation of Daley's initiatives to spy on us wherever we go is simply deluded. This is nothing more than a foot in the door to 1) increased revenue for this criminal-controlled city and 2) the next step toward cameras everywhere, not just in school zones. As the poster Barnet pointed out above, ATA needs to read the whole article from yesterday's Tribune, which exposes several instances where the Emanuel administration has already lied about the basis for installation of these cameras. ATA is either incapable of logic, or is a cynical enabler of the erosion of privacy in this city, under the slogan of "but what about the CHILDREN?". Count me out.

Automatic Speed Enforcement

It is no surprise the ATA has applied their spin-doctoring to the Tribune article which spelled out that the city's safety claims for speed cameras was not fully fact supported. Chicago's own federally funded pedestrian safety study did not mention school zones even once as a pedestrian accident zone
City, ready shoot aim....
Since the ATA is funded by the city, its easy to tell where their loyalties lie...

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