Ask for “yes” vote on speed camera ordinance

The speed camera ordinance passed out of committee Wednesday on a 8-3 vote, and it is scheduled for a vote by the full Chicago City Council on Wednesday, April 18.

Active Transportation Alliance supports speed limit enforcement by cameras for the same reason we support speed limit enforcement by police: Both work to reduce speeding, crashes, injuries and deaths. No one likes to get a speeding ticket, but it’s a great way to prevent speeding.

That speed cameras reduce speeding and crashes is a commonsense conclusion backed by research, but some just aren’t convinced. So let’s lay out the facts and de-bunk some of the excuses for opposing the speed camera ordinance.

Facts

  • Traffic injuries are widespread in Chicago: In 2010, an average of 60 people (47 in cars, 13 on bike or foot) were killed or injured every day in motor vehicle crashes in Chicago. Speed usually plays a factor. (Ironically, Alderman Graham missed Wednesday’s committee hearing because she was hurt in a car crash – thankfully, not seriously.)
  • Speed cameras reduce traffic injuries: 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 injuries from crashes by more than 50 percent.
  • Speed kills: Pedestrians hit by a car at 20 mph survive 90 percent of the time, but only 10 percent survive at 40 mph.
  • Chicago police made 19 percent fewer traffic stops and issued 30 percent fewer tickets last year compared to 2010. Police have limited resources for traffic enforcement, and speed cameras will help police address speeding without compromising other programs.

Excuses for opposing

Excuse 1: There is no proof that speed cameras reduce injuries and fatalities involving children.
Why it’s wrong: Research, along with common sense, shows speed cameras reduce crashes and injuries. And it’s not only about kids near schools, as some aldermen have argued. Just because the ordinance prioritizes protecting children doesn’t mean we should disregard seniors and other adults who are hurt in crashes.

Excuse 2: The city is installing thousands of speed humps that prevent speeding, so we don’t need speed cameras.
Why it’s wrong: Active Trans supports traffic calming, including speed humps, but speed humps aren’t appropriate for many streets. And it will be years before the city can traffic calm its vast 9,000 mile street network, leaving plenty of opportunities for cars to speed.

Excuse 3: Chicago should do traffic calming instead of speed cameras.
Why it’s wrong: It’s not either-or; we need both along with education, other types of enforcement and more efforts to reduce vehicle violence on our streets.

Does your alderman care about speeding?

Call your alderman today and ask him or her to support the speed camera ordinance. (Find out who your alderman is and get his or her contact information.)

If your alderman is one of the seven committee members who voted yes, please thank him or her. Here’s the tally of votes from Chicago City Council's Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee. 

AYE
Margaret Laurino, 39th
James Balcer, 11th
Rey Colon, 35th
Michelle Harris, 8th
Richard Mell, 33rd
Ricardo Munoz, 22nd
Marty Quinn, 13th
Debra Silverstein, 50th

NAY
James Cappelman, 46th
Jason Ervin, 28th
Roderick Sawyer, 6th

NOT VOTING
Deborah Graham, 29th
Emma Mitts, 37th
Howard Brookins, 21st
Will Burns, 4th

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