American Traffic Solutions Blocks School Speed Zone Bill, Then Lies About It

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School safety zone at Peabody Elementary in Noble Square. Photo: Chicago Tribune.

Illinois schoolchildren are at least six months further away from getting better protection from speeding drivers, after American Traffic Solutions, a speed camera company, successfully lobbied against proposed state legislation that would have extended school speed zone hours. To add insult to injury, the firm is falsely claiming it did nothing to obstruct the bill.

Illinois House Bill 3229 would expand the hours of the existing 20 mph speed limit in school safety zones, currently 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., to anytime time children are present. Motorists could be charged $150 for the first offense and $300 for subsequent tickets. The Active Transportation Alliance proposed the legislation after a Chicago Tribune analysis found that the majority of crashes involving kids in Chicago school zones occur after regular school hours. A separate Active Trans study found similar results in other parts of the state.

The bill passed the Illinois House nearly unanimously but stalled in the state senate after last minute maneuvering by ATS, which City Hall selected to be Chicago’s speed camera vendor last February. The bill had bi-partisan co-sponsorship by half of the Senate transportation committee members, had virtually no opponents, and seemed destined to become law until recently.

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Former state rep and current American Traffic Solutions lobbyist Julie Curry.

A couple weeks ago, the camera company officially registered opposition to the legislation on the state legislature’s website, a procedure known as “slipping” the bill. Active Trans Director Ron Burke says ATS lobbyist Julie Curry, a former state rep, also approached State Senator Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, chair of the transportation committee, asking him to stall the legislation, although Sandoval denies this. “I am for safe zones around schools,” he told the Tribune, “But I am about 10,000 feet from having anything to do with this bill.” The law’s sponsor, Senator Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, told the Trib she met with Curry on multiple occasions to discuss HB 3229.

Why on earth would a company that sells speed cameras want to block a bill that extends the hours when their product would be used? ATS objected to the language in the bill requiring children to be present in order for the speed limit to be in effect. The company feared that it would be difficult for its cameras to capture an image of the speeding vehicle, its license plate number and the child, which would be necessary for issuing tickets. This might jeopardize their contract with the city of Chicago. I’ve contacted the city for information about any financial incentives for ATS to maximize the number of speeding violations it documents.

The thing is, even if ATS couldn’t have enforced the law with their cameras, speed cameras aren’t the only way to enforce the law. Police officers are already enforcing the existing school zone speed limit during school hours, in Chicago and other parts of Illinois that won’t get cameras. The only way the new law would be different from the status quo is that it extends the hours, so it still would have been enforceable, and the Trib study suggests it would have saved lives.

Active Trans agreed that it would be simpler to have a constant speed limit, regardless of whether children are present. However, it was clear that such legislation wouldn’t pass the House due to opposition from the sheriff’s association, the Illinois Department of Transportation and legislators who felt drivers would tend to ignore a 24/7 speeding ban. Rather than let the perfect be the enemy of the good, the advocacy group endorsed a bill that extended the hours but kept the “while children are present” language.

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State Senator Martin Sandoval, chair of the transportation committee. Photo: Chicago Tribune.

“When it became clear that ATS had persuaded the committee chair not to call HB 3229 for a vote in committee, Senator Morrison had no choice but to say she would try to address ATS’s concerns,” Burke told me. “But make no mistake, Senator Morrison and the many advocates for this bill had preferred, and expected, a successful vote on HB 3229 before ATS emerged in the eleventh hour to kill it.”

Despite the fact that the camera company was on record opposing the bill, and Burke says the company had openly shared that position, the Tribune quoted Dennis Culloton, a Chicago consultant for ATS, claiming the firm has done “nothing in any way, shape or form to obstruct the passage of that bill.” Burke told me, “If that were true, the bill would almost surely be going to the governor’s desk right now.”

ATS’s questionable lobbying efforts, and its dishonesty about them, are particularly upsetting because traffic camera companies are under intense scrutiny right now. Earlier this year, allegations surfaced that that Redflex, the city’s red-light camera vendor, bribed a former Chicago Department of Transportation official. Speed and red-light cameras are crucial tools for preventing traffic casualties, but they’ve also been accused of being a money grab for City Hall. These important programs certainly don’t need any more bad publicity.

And while ATS blocked the bill due to concerns about how their speed cameras will work in a couple hundred Chicago school zones, the company’s actions also delay better protection for kids at hundreds more schools across the state. “It’s disappointing and surprising that a speed camera company would put the brakes on a bill to expand slower speed limits in order to protect children, but they did,” Burke told the Trib.

Hopefully, legislation extending the hours of the school zone speed limit, with or, preferably, without the “while children are present,” language, will pass in the fall veto session. But even if that effort is successful, that means there will be at least a six-month delay before the law is in effect and drivers are forced to slow down 24/7. In the meantime, there’s no telling how many more kids will be victims of crashes due to the selfish, dishonest actions of a traffic camera company that seems more concerned with its bottom line than safe streets.

  • Brian

    CDOT wants everyone to think that speed cameras will have a drastic impact on fatalities. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they planted the story that NBC News did about the cameras that Gabe was the driving force behind in WAshington DC. It’s nothing but propaganda.

    There are so many factors that play into this- cars are MUCH safer than they were 10 years ago, the economy took a huge downturn which meant less people on the road, etc.

    Gabe came here with a mission, and that mission was to install speed cameras. I applaud the work that has been done to create pedestrian awareness. I travel often, and really notice the difference in Chicago versus other cities. But speed cameras are about one thing, and one thing only, money.

    FACT: The red light camera program was built on a bribe. Redflex even admits this. Yet CDOT and the city of Chicago is SO DESPERATE for money, that they continue to pay Reflex, despite their unethical behavior.

    Again, speed cameras and red light cameras are nothing more than a cash grab, and I would gladly tell this to anyone at CDOT in person, and I stand by what I said earlier.

  • As I’ve said, I like red light and speed cameras, but Klein has lots of other missions. 100 miles of protected (and buffered) bike lanes, the Bloomingdale Trail and 4,000 bike-share bikes by 2015? Sounded ridiculous when Emanuel committed to them in 2011, but Klein is getting that stuff done, plus tons other ped, bike and transit initiatives. Sorry, but I’ve got to leave now to go check out the new seating area CDOT just helped get installed in the median of State Street…

  • Anonymous

    If the concern is about the cameras taking pictures of both speeding cars AND children being present in the pictures, why not just make the time that the 20 MPH speed limit is in effect is when the curfew time isn’t in effect.

    If the curfew is followed there wouldn’t be any kids on the street at that time of the night. Before that time, the speed limit would be 20 MPH – just in case.

  • The curfew idea makes some sense. Here’s the current curfew info:

    The curfews in Chicago depends on the age of your children. For kids 12
    and under, the curfew is 8:30 p.m. for weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends. For kids ages 12-16, the curfew is 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll to along with the curfew times for kids 12 and under; that’s the cutoff age for riding your bikes on the sidewalk.

  • Traffic cameras are just another form of Policing for Profit as Capitalism distorts our Justice System. These companies are bottom-feeders and take a 40% cut of the tickets while creating MORE dangerous intersections by fixing the lengths of yellow lights to entrap drivers. You can read about how private companies and crooked politicians have turned our Police forces on their ear in every attempt to squeeze money out of the general public at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-privatized-police-state.html

  • The Washington D.C. numbers for speed cameras don’t lie, my friend. 83 percent reduction in traffic fatalities in the last decade. Sure, cameras aren’t the only reason, but it’s clear they were an important factor.

    Again, I really don’t care if the city of Chicago is only in this for the money, which it’s not, as long as we get results: a significant drop is traffic casualties. The District’s experience suggests we will.

  • Misdirected Anger

    John, I really like that you are a forceful advocate. But you are missing my point. Any half-way decent lobbyist could have predicted that ATS would have a problem with this bill. Sure they were deceptive in their comments. But Active Trans was bush-league in not recognizing a problem with a bill based on “when children are present.” Active Trans couldn’t convince the police (sheriffs) to support the other version of the bill. They couldn’t convince ATS or City of Chicago to go along with 2nd version of bill. In other words Active Trans blew it. My point is that good advocates/lobbyists anticipate problems and solve them. They don’t lose the battle and then go whine as Ron Burke is doing. I am not absolving ATS but they don’t represent me. Active Trans does and they didn’t do a good job.

  • It was clear that the sheriff’s association, IDOT and state reps who opposed removing “while children are present,” couldn’t be persuaded in time for the House vote.

    The city was neutral on the bill, but the reason Active Trans couldn’t persuade ATS to go along with it is they had no idea ATS opposed it until the last minute. It’s not a matter of Active Trans being bush league for not gazing into a crystal ball and predicting ATS’s eleventh-hour opposition. ATS apparently hadn’t even figured out that the bill was problematic for them until the last minute. It’s not Active Trans’ job to to know more about the camera gear than ATS does.

  • Brian

    They ARE in it for the money.

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/IG-Report-Questions-Locations-of-Chicago-Red-Light-Cameras-207379221.html

    How much more evidence do you need? Again, I don’t know how “the commissioner” sleeps at night knowing that he is behind the biggest scam this city has ever seen.

    And I think he’s done great work with getting bike lanes installed, but and type is photo enforcement is 100% money motivated, even when the company admits they bribed the city for the contract. ANYONE who “supports” camera enforcement needs to look themselves in the mirror and really question their ethics.

  • Brian

    Let’s just hope that since the session is over that this is a dead bill, and it doesn’t come up again. Now that the veil has been pulled back, I’ve got to think it will be difficult to pass. Thankfully we have enough sensible lawmakers outside of Cook county who don’t want to impose unjust taxes on penalties on their citizens.

  • Most of our readers are in the loop about the RedFlex scandal, since we’ve been linking to stories about it in our morning headline stack. And as I mentioned in the article, it sucks that sleazy behavior by camera companies is giving these important programs a bad name. And, yes, the scandal is about CDOT’s John Bills taking bribes from RedFlex.

    You are correct; we need to ensure that the programs are run for maximum impact on reducing traffic crashes. I’m willing to accept the possibility that one of the city’s motivations, although I’m confident it’s not the only one, is revenue, as long as the result is a program that prevents crashes and saves lives.

    Even if there was some shadiness involved in the placement of some of the red light cameras, which hasn’t been proven yet, it’s not like these cameras were ticketing innocent motorists. They were punishing people who were running red lights, and I support that 100 percent.

    I’m all for cracking down on government corruption, but I’m confused why you guys are so passionate about defending people’s right to drive dangerously.

  • Anonymous

    And what does the liberal system give up? Bailouts for companies that can’t keep up? http://zautos.com/obama-campaign-bets-big-on-auto-bailout-ads/

    Obama Campaign Bets Big on Auto Bailout Ads

    Three months before the Republican party has even elected an opponent, the Obama campaign is going on the offensive. Three advertisements were released May 9 as part of an aggressive $25 million media blitz to gain ground in nine swing states, from New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado to Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada. Nearly $10 million will be evenly split to reach voters in Ohio and Florida.

  • Wait a minute, we’re the anti-car advocates here and *you’re* complaining about the auto industry bailout?

  • Anonymous

    I’m not against bailouts!

    I am against bailouts where the current management’s who were not smart enough to steer them clear of the mess get to keep all their marbles and 15 million a year jobs.

    Buffett who makes 200,000 a year saw it coming so it was possible.

    Jim Rogers a great capitalist said in 09 “The way our system’s supposed to work is: Incompetent people fail, competent people take their assets, start over from a fresh base, a stronger base, and then the system grows again.
    What’s happening now is: They’re taking the assets from the competent people, giving them to the incompetent people, and say to the incompetent people, “Ok, now you can compete with the competent people.” And so the whole system is terribly weakened”

    That is take from the competent people and give it to the incompetent so that the incompetent can compete with the competent people with their own money.

  • Anonymous

    Why isn’t it realistic? Just drive slowly, below 20 MPH, when you’re in the school zone. Describe the unrealism.

  • Look, my friend, I hate cars and even I realize that saving the auto industry was necessary to keeping the economy from tanking. Even Clint Eastwood agreed, before he started yelling at chairs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PE5V4Uzobc

  • Actually, there’s a 5 mph grace, so you’re not going to get ticketed for 25 mph.

  • Anonymous

    Yet I still said I’m not against bailouts!
    Who was fired?
    From a bank-auto or broker?

  • Anonymous

    ATS does NOT object to enforcing school zones at 4 am on Sundays when there are no pedestrians of any age in sight at the camera locations, they WANT more tickets issued at every predatory ticket camera location.

    What ATS objects to is the requirement that children actually be present and at risk because that will DRASTICALLY lower the number of tickets – and their profits. If you can only ticket when hazards are present, you can only issue a tiny fraction of the number of tickets if safety is not a factor.

    Ticket cameras are about money, not safety. Chicago just had an audit of the red light camera program that has stripped $300 million dollars out of the pockets of Chicago residents and visitors – for NO safety gains.

    Wake up folks, ATS would be extremely happy if they could ticket dogs crossing the sidewalk that people might trip over. It is NOT about safety, it is about $$$$.

    What is hard to understand is why Chicago residents allow their pockets to be picked of hundreds of millions of dollars when most of the time no hazardous actions were involved.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association (frequent Chicagoland visitor)

  • Joshua

    ATS doesn’t get paid by the tickets. The City of Chicago does. Chicago wants more tickets to make more money, and ATS is calling foul on that. I applaud ATS for calling Chicago out of this scheme and for keeping them within safety use boundaries, and not bullshit money making boundaries. It’s bad enough Chicago shortened the yellow lights, what does that tell you? That ATS is in for the money, or the city. Ding-ding, City is.

  • Anonymous

    ATS won’t get paid on a per-ticket commission, but they DO get more money when the cameras are profitable because the city will install more cameras in total. ATS wants EVERY ticket camera to produce profits forever – then they get paid forever. The Redflex red light cameras have generated about $300 million dollars in revenue, of which Redflex got about $100 million. In the ticket camera business, and it IS a business, only $$$$$ count for either the city or the camera company. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Joshua

    No, that part is already done. ATS is the only other option, so they are going to end up getting all the intersections already. The testing of ATS systems was done when they were considering Reflix. Everything’s a business, but ATS isn’t doing this 100% out of just pure want for money, but is doing it also because it is a very stupid thought by the City of Chicago. BTW, it’s not a bad thing when a company wants to better itself, it’s how the economy works. ATS has some amazing cameras, take a look at them, and you’ll see why you need them. Maybe less Chicago Police will run the red lights. LOL

  • Anonymous

    If Chicago uses 50 cameras, the vendor will make $X. If they use 100 cameras, the vendor will make about $2X. This is NOT a done deal on the numbers. I agree that it is the way capitalism works to have companies seek to grow and be more profitable. The problem is that ticket cameras are a dirty business that requires improper traffic safety engineering parameters to be profitable. The industry should simply not exist, and then cities would have far fewer financial incentives to deliberately mis-engineer their speed limits and traffic lights for profits. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Joshua

    Chicago would find a way anyway. Weather it be stationing cops for pull people over more, or red light cameras. All in all, it’s not the industry’s fault, it’s the misuse of the customer. ATCs, here, is trying to limit the improper traffic safety engineering done by the city. The company isn’t providing an incentive, no, the City of Chicago’s debt and increasing want for money is the main incentive. These cameras are purely mediums used, and you shouldn’t blame the tool for the damage the controller caused.

  • Anonymous

    Ticket cameras are a two-way for-profit business partnership in Chicago. The engineering is deliberately done improperly, and Redflex or ATS or another vendor provides the cameras to profiteer from the mis-engineering. There are nearly 400 red light cameras in Chicago and there is no way to even come close to that level of monitoring with police officers. It is the industry’s fault to the extent they willingly profiteer at the risk of higher intersection crash rates – knowing full well that the “safety” part of their sales pitch is simply false, and most tickets go to safe drivers tricked into split second violations that would not occur if the engineering was done properly. The entire industry is a scam that should be banned. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Joshua

    You’re misguided. You’re blaming an industry, AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY, on the misuse of the City of Chicago. “Safety”? Are you thinking, when installed properly, these cameras catch people and tell them not to try anything funny. I almost died TWICE because of idiots who run the red. My neighbor lost her only son to a red-light runner. You tell me those cameras and the photo enforced signs wouldn’t have made those people think twice? Sometimes, enforcement is good. You can’t blame the incompetence of the City of Chicago on an industry. That’s like saying a crossing signal malfunctioned so it’s obviously the fault of railroads being in existence. Why not just blame it on humanity. There you go, people are too damn stupid to stop for a red light, so it’s everyone’s fault collectively. Which, in it’s own right, is the truth. That’s again, how the world works James. You make cameras, get the deal in Chicago, then yes, you’re going to make a lot of money. But no, not every time someone makes a ton of money is it bad or hurtful to society. I find it sad people can’t accept that making large sums of money can actually be done while befitting the world. Well, maybe not, because people like those in Chicago, ruin it for everyone with shorter yellow lights and stupid attempts as extending a school day!

  • Anonymous

    The entire industry of ticket cameras can exist ONLY when the posted limits and yellow intervals are deliberately mis-engineered. If posted limits and traffic lights are correctly engineered for maximum safety, the cameras cannot issue enough citations for the fines to even pay their own costs to install and run the cameras. The entire industry is based on a predatory money-grab program of deliberately ticketing mostly safe drivers with deliberately mis-engineered traffic safety factors – it is the only way the money works out. I have NO problem with ticket cameras installed to ticket only unsafe drivers and operated at a massive financial loss for the cities that would use them. But this will never happen. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • OK, I’ll bite. How do you believe the posted limits and yellow intervals not correctly engineered for maximum safety, and how do you figure a driver who gets ticketed for going several miles over the posted speed limit or running a red is a safe driver?

  • Anonymous

    You ask very logical questions, John. There is a 70+ year proven method to set speed limits IF safety and smooth traffic flow are the true goals. Survey the road when traffic is free flowing under good conditions and find the 85th percentile speed – the speed where 85% of the drivers are below that speed or right at it. Round to the nearest 5 mph interval for the safest limit. 85th=37 mph yields 35 limit. 85th=63 mph yields 65 limit. Over 50+ years of research, the drivers with the lowest crash risks are the ones at or close to the actual 85th percentile speed. So, if the 85th is 37 mph, the drivers from about 35-39 have the lowest risks to be in a crash. Post the limit at 30 or 25 and many of the tickets will go to very safe drivers with very low crash risks. Limits in most cities are NOT set for safety, they are set for ticket revenue or political reasons, or both. Similarly, there is a proven method to set yellow intervals on lights if safety and minimum violations are the true goals. There is an engineering formula based on the ACTUAL approach speeds of 85% of the vehicles because you need a longer yellow when cars come at 50 mph than if they come at 30. In the speed limit example above, the yellow would be set for 37 mph IF safety and minimum violations are the goals (regardless of the posted speed limit). But, if you set the yellow for an artificially low posted limit of 30 or 25, it will be too short by about a half to a full second. Add a camera and you ticket large numbers of drivers for inadvertent split second violations caused by the deliberately too-short yellow interval. Note that the drivers who violate the red by say 0.3 or 0.9 seconds will clear the intersection during the 1 to 3 second all red phase and present zero crash risks for the cross traffic that is still stopped during the all red phase. Chicago makes about $69 million per year with short yellows and red light cameras. Washington DC makes almost $100 million a year with under posted speed limits and short yellows. It is a racket, not a safety program. See our website for a LOT of research by unbiased academic sources and investigative reporters (people not in the revenue stream from ticket cameras). James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Logan Square Driver

    Now that’s my kind of thinking, James! All the anti-car nuts seem to think we should take things like pedestrian injury and fatality rates into consideration when setting speed limits. They want to builds so-called “complete streets” where cars drive slowly enough that even hipster bikers feels safe! But you have the right idea: the speed that drivers want to go is the speed they should go!

  • Joshua

    I really doubt that being that ATS had grown over the years and Chicago is it’s most recent big bid and it’s first to misuse the cameras. The cameras can issue plenty of citations at correct speeds because people are idiots and run the red lights. I’m starting to think you’ve never visited Chicago or haven’t enough. People run red lights speeding and doing the speed limit. They are the illogical part in the puzzle, and this whole Chicago situation has put the city there too. Stop defending motorists who are at fault and the city of Chicago who is in the wrong for mis-use. I’ve seen enough issues with motorists as is. I just saw a man today run into a railroad crossing gate and up a median to miss a train. Can you believe that? I think he deserves a ticket, and I don’t care if it’s a “money grab” way to do it if it saves lives!

  • Joshua

    lol, that seems to be the only thing me and James can agree on. Speed limits are a little low in some places

  • Joshua

    Chicago uses the ACTUAL approach, shorting lights and making sharp changes to road engineering to help benefit them. Out here, we have reasons for our lower speeds. 30mph, slow, but we have had several accidents with speeders in the area at just 40mph. Pedestrians killed and people hurt. The limit was dropped to aid the amount of school traffic that will and is sent through the area and the amount of traffic lights has doubled, and the speed limit has remained at 30mph… yes they give them a full 5-6 seconds of yellow light time as well. I’ve seen a guy run the red in front of a cop and get away, they don’t write tickets unless you’re really misbehaving here. There’s traffic engineering, and there’s traffic manipulation.

  • CL

    I think the speed limits are generally fine. On wide roads with no pedestrians they feel too slow, but that’s because they need to set limits as though there were pedestrians around. But I think he has a point about the yellow lights — they are incredibly short. Just driving 30, I have to slam the breaks sometimes. This is why there are rear-end collisions at red light camera intersections. When I cross the line to Evanston, the extra second of yellow makes a big difference — I have enough time to calculate whether I should cross or slow down, and the warning is far enough in advance that I can slow down safely instead of slamming the breaks to avoid running the light.

  • Fred

    So basically you are arguing that speed limits should be abolished in favor of engineering roads in such a way that drivers naturally drive a certain desirable safe speed for the given conditions.

    While certainly an admirable ideal, it would be a multi-billion dollar project to actually implement, just in a single city like Chicago. Until then, artificially low speed limits and cameras are going to have to do.

  • James, that’s a logical method for setting speed limits if your priority is facilitating motorized traffic flow, but not if you’re interested in saving lives. Studies show that pedestrians struck by cars at 20 mph almost always survive, 30 mph is about 50-50, and 40 mph means almost certain death. Therefore 37 is not a safe speed for city streets.

  • Anonymous

    Posted limits have virtually no effect on the upper portion of the travel speed range. If the 85th is 37 mph, it will be 37 +/- up to 3 mph whether the limit is 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, or 25. If you want the 85th to be lower than 37, you must change the character of the road so most drivers do not feel comfortable and safe at 37. The only thing posting 25 or 30 does is lie to the pedestrians to tell them vehicles are coming slower than they really are. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Anonymous

    You do not abolish speed limits, you set the limits in the safest possible way – by using 85% of the drivers to tell you what the correct limit should be. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Anonymous

    Most Chicago lights with cameras have 3.0 second yellows, the minimum allowed by the federal rules – regardless of whether the actual approach speeds are up to 28 mph (highest for 3.0 yellows by the formula) or 35 or 40 or 45 or 50 mph. Chicago’s method of setting yellows has one, and only one, goal $$$$$$$$$, some $69 million worth in 2012. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Anonymous

    Since artificially low posted limits tend to raise the crash rates, setting realistic ones is the safest method. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Anonymous

    Setting correct length yellows, typically about one second longer, usually drops the violation rates by 70% to 90%, thus gutting the profits for the cameras and the predatory cities that use them. I have visited Chicago A LOT over the last 50+ years I have been a licensed driver, most recently in May 2013. Chicago use of ticket cameras is driven 100% by greed, not safety. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Anonymous

    A 3.0 second yellow that Chicago uses almost everywhere is correct ONLY for actual approach speeds of 28 mph or lower. Anything higher and the yellow is too short. It is NOT a mistake they were set too short, it is a malicious and deliberate part of the money-grab business plan to collect about $69 million dollars last year, most of it from safe drivers. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Not if we use speed cameras to nail speeders.

  • Anonymous

    Over time, the speed cameras continue to make money, the real purpose for their installation. If they cameras almost stopped speeding, they would be removed as money-losers. This does not occur. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Fred

    So if 85% of drivers are going past a school at 55 mph, then the speed limit next to the school should be 55 mph?

  • Anonymous

    No, if the speeds of 85% of the vehicles are 55 mph or lower, then the regular speed limit in hours where children are not normally present should be 55 mph. Then there should be a very restricted number of hours where the limit could be up to 15 mph lower, 40 mph in this case. Michigan law 257.627a provides the lower limits for 30 minutes up to one hour before the school day starts, 30 minutes up to one hour after the end of the regular school day, and at lunchtime IF students are allowed off the school grounds. The lowest school zone limit in Michigan is 25 mph. It works quite well and is NOT used for predatory revenue collection scams. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Joshua

    Which is what I’ve been trying to point out.

  • Anonymous

    You got it right, Joshua. The same sort of deliberate mis-engineering and predatory for-profit enforcement will apply to most of the speed cameras. They will be located where both the city and ATS know for sure that the posted speed limits are well below the actual, normal, current, safe traffic flow speeds. In a way, it is sad that the city is not starting with the full 300 cameras authorized. That would explode the ticketing this fall and the backlash would be likely to be so strong the program would come to a screeching halt. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • steve

    Are you working for these companies, a troll, or just the village smart guy, a village called, it is missing a genius

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