Chicago speed cameras: City quietly moves over a dozen speed cameras to new locations

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Friday, March 31, 2023
Chicago quietly moves over a dozen speed cameras to new locations
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With 162 speed cameras spread throughout the city of Chicago, the I-Team uncovers that 16 cameras were moved to new locations.

Chicago (WLS) -- There could be a new speed camera in your neighborhood. With 162 speed cameras spread throughout the city of Chicago, the I-Team uncovered that 16 cameras were moved to new locations.

We dug into crash and accident data to uncover why. There is also a way to check if there is a new camera on your block.

"It slows down a lot of the traffic and it's kids around here, it's a park, so I like it, personally," Corwin Gillespie told the I-Team. He hopes the new speed camera will reduce crash numbers near Avalon Park on East 83rd Street. There have been 15 fatal crashes here in a recent three-year period.

"It's been plenty of accidents and there's constantly racing up and down 83rd Street," he said.

I-TEAM REPORT | Group says Chicago's new speed camera law unfairly impacts minority drivers

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the I-Team uncovered that camera as one of 16 recently moved by the city. The Chicago Department of Transportation says it changed the camera locations based on an independent study by UIC that analyzed crash data.

The Chicago Dept. of Transportation added that it's been analyzing and accessing locations to ensure public safety and that it considers input from aldermen, the community, and crash trends, before moving cameras.

The ABC7 Data Team researched crash figures at those new camera locations. We looked within a half-mile radius of each camera.

According to Chicago Police data, in the three years before the 16 new cameras were installed, there was a combined total of 3,033 crashes with serious injuries; 215 were fatal crashes.

The most fatalities, 35, occurred near Christiana Park in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

I-TEAM REPORT | Chicago speed camera ticket violations spike since city changed speeding law

While some welcome moving cameras to areas that may need them, others are concerned that more drivers could rack up tickets, not knowing about the cameras being shuffled.

"They absolutely are catching people off-guard," said Mark Wallace, who runs Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras. "Most people are not gonna know that the cameras are moved to a different location because the city does not provide that information, it's not transparent. The city doesn't give information that they are relocating these cameras to another location."

There are warning signs at all speed camera locations. A city map online shows the locations of the city's 162 speed cameras -- all by parks and schools.

However, the map only shows cameras actively ticketing drivers. Of the 16 new locations, six are actively issuing tickets, six are issuing warnings and the rest aren't ticketing at all yet, but will be within weeks.

When active, drivers caught traveling 6-10 miles per hour above the speed limit could get a $35 ticket and a $100 ticket for speeding 11 or more miles per hour above the limit.

Gillespie hopes the new camera will slow drivers down in his neighborhood.

"I went to the alderman's office because and I asked them to put a speed camera or even a stop sign, speed bumps, but this seems like it's working a lot better than everything else," he said.

In past reports, the I-Team has found that the vast majority of camera revenue comes from people getting $35 tickets in that lower, 6-10 mph range.

That citation threshold was lowered to the 6-10 mph range by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in March of 2021.