Archer Avenue Motorists Upset They Can’t Drive as Fast as They Want

mulberry park speed camera
Speeding was a factor in 32 percent of crashes within 1/8 mile of Mulberry Playlot Park. Map: CDOT

Some motorists are complaining about a new speed camera along the busy 3200 block of Archer Avenue in McKinley Park. The accusations of a “speed trap” focus on the camera’s location, which is not immediately adjacent to the small park that, under Chicago’s “safety zones” rules, justifies the camera’s placement. But the camera is located in a part of Chicago where speeding is endemic and crashes are frequent.

CDOT spokesperson Pete Scales said that the Mulberry Playlot Park safety zone was ranked in the top 10 percent of safety zone locations “in terms of priority for needed safety improvements,” placing it 135th out of 1,500 citywide. Within the 1/8 mile buffer around the park, 32 percent of crashes from 2009 to 2012 involved a speeding driver, and 22 percent — 47 crashes — involved children.

DNAinfo recently interviewed a few people who feel they should be able to drive as fast as they want on Archer Avenue and reported that 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas wants to relocate or remove the speed enforcement camera. They are missing the point of automated speed enforcement.

Cardenas, who has also opposed street changes that would improve travel times for Ashland bus riders, told DNAinfo, “There’s no reason why the camera should be there. It’s a stretch to call [Mulberry] a park.”

Mulberry Park Playlot
Alderman Cardenas says this is not a park. Image: Google Street View

Mulberry Playlot is indeed a park, with a playground, swings, and a water feature, all surrounded by residences. It’s also the only children’s play area for several blocks around.

The motorists complaining that they can no longer speed with impunity also seem to be blind to the park’s presence. Lupe Castillo posted a video to her Facebook page saying she couldn’t find a park near the new camera. “The only park that I know around here, closest to here, is McKinley Park, which is almost two miles away,” she said in the video.

Castillo said she thinks that the visual presence of a park will automatically slow drivers, but that’s not the case. Streetsblog’s analysis of the speed camera next to Senn Park and Gompers Park have amply demonstrated that. Speed cameras have also been shown to reduce motorist speeding beyond the immediate area they monitor, which means people crossing not only Archer but other streets to get to the Mulberry Playlot will benefit from slower-moving cars.

Because of the gloomy streetscape and fast traffic, it’s no wonder that DNAinfo said they “tried to interview some pedestrians for their reaction, but couldn’t find any.” Bringing the prevailing speed down closer to 25 mph will increase the livability for residents and workers along Archer.

The city continues to phase in the speed cameras and is only citing motorists driving 35 mph or faster here — state law allows citations to start at six mph over the speed limit, but the city is only issuing fines to drivers who exceed the limit by 10 mph or more

While the city’s framing of the speed camera program has been problematic – reduced speeding is good for everyone, not just children – this speed camera location is not.

And to his credit, Cardenas has asked CDOT for a speed camera on Ashland Avenue. The agency is currently evaluating it. The CDOT-provided crash map above shows many crashes happen on Ashland as well.

  • Alex Oconnor

    And on top of that if I recall Cirillo focused on incidents of crashes not necessarily severity of injury and the deviation from the mean speed.

    On a relatively high speed highway there will generally be a higher incidence of autos going slower than the mean than substantially higher this is likley even more likely at the evening which I believe is what Cirilo looked at.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Again how is the 1968 Cirillo paper which focused on Interstate traffic and the deviation from the median relevant to the issue at hand that when a massive object traveling at a higher velocity strikes a less massive object that there will be much greater injury vis-a-vis a lower ‘v’

    It doesn’t just like the rest of your post you do not even know what your are posting.

  • oooBooo

    It’s one thing to be ignorant, it’s quite another to be willfully ignorant and insult people. If you haven’t figured it out by now I won’t follow suit. Even if I wanted to, the one sided moderation in such things would find me the short side of that stick. In your case it’s simply a diversionary technique to change the focus to me. To put me on the defensive and it’s not happening.

    Nor am I going to be diverted to your introduction of new subjects, your creation of strawmen arguments, and everything else you pulled out in that last comment. This strawman passage:

    “You believe that your perceived convenience is paramount; that is of
    course your right but the trade off is increased risk of death and
    serious injury paid by the innocents you may plow into.”

    is particularly inflammatory and insulting. I repeat it show exactly how despicable you have been. But back to the topic at hand:

    A 15mph crash has a higher severity than no crash at all at 50mph. KE is irrelevant if there is no impact. That’s basic physics. At
    this point you must be willfully refusing to recognize this. I’ve
    explained it to you in multiple ways. The american philosophy of incompetence’s damage being controlled by limiting speed with armed men and now robots is wrong headed and a failure.

    The simple fact is that the philosophy of avoiding crashes and proper engineering works while the philosophy of arbitrarily low speed limits and enforcement does not. You even cited a paper that showed that speed depends on the road, not the number on the sign. Low speed limits plus enforcement does is a failure compared to the alternative. But, it politically favors certain camps, which is why its continued failure, continued use, and arguing for speaks to.

    You want space? Again, I refer to Hans Monderman. He worked by removing the signs, speed limits, traffic signals, etc and creating a shared space. Traffic flows better without delays and conflicts. The heavy handed control and enforcement is the problem, not the solution. But if one has an anti-car agenda, proper engineering that raises all ships is the last thing to be desired.

  • oooBooo

    It’s one thing to have an ignorant student who wants to learn. It’s
    quite another to have an ignorant student who wants to remain so and
    insults the person trying to educate him. Improve your attitude and you
    might learn something.

    Two of the lines are standard two lane roads. Anyway, the purpose is to educate you about the background of the cite you made. If you understood the background material as well as that paper its self you would have never have cited it.

    Here’s a more instructive version:

    Again, I would rather not crash or be crashed into at the 85th percentile speed than crash or be crashed into at the 10th percentile speed. At the 10th percentile speed the crash involvement rate is much much higher than at the 85th. You want to trade lower severity for much much higher frequency. The number on the sign doesn’t change actual speeds. It causes a few people to fear enforcement and take unreasonable, unnecessary risks at the left end of the curve. Crash severity is not the only variable. It’s not even the primary variable. Crash frequency is the primary variable.

  • oooBooo

    It was to teach what the 85th percentile speed was, because if you knew what it was, you wouldn’t have cited the paper you did.

    Your speed limit sign doesn’t change the mean. Your own cite states so. Incident rate is my argument if you had paid attention. You want to create arbitrarily low speed limits based on what feels right to you, what feels like acceptable crash severity and then punish those who get caught going faster. This creates a condition where people can obey and take a much higher risk of a crash or disobey and be safe. You trade increased frequency for the (often false) promise of lower severity. Often false because the road determines speed, not the sign.

  • oooBooo

    Creating ever more branches. You’ll spare not a single debate tactic.

    I was teaching you what the 85th percentile is. Your own cite clearly states the speed on low and moderate speed roads does not change with number on the sign. That’s the thrust of the Cirillo and Solomon.

  • oooBooo

    It indicates you didn’t even understand your cite.

  • Alex Oconnor

    No. You are utterly incorrect.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Actually no. The speed limit does influence the mean. You clearly have not read even the aged references which you cited. Modern research explicitly indicates that a decrease in speed limit does influence mean speed.

    Incidentally, the argument is about the influnce that velocity of a large relatively inelastic object has on a much smaller body…..

    You really are either out of your depth or are an old timer traffic engineer holding on to sacred shibboleths else just suffering from dementia.

  • Alex Oconnor

    No. No it is not.

  • Alex Oconnor

    And on top of it your are citing 47 your old papers that have served traffic engineering supremely poorly.

  • Alex Oconnor

    And no. You were not teaching me anything. You are clearly out of your depth here.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Once again you are not teaching me a thing. And generally speaking pedestrians traveling several std dev to the left of auto speed.

    You have a predilection to focus and concern yourself with auto crashes and the consequent damages,

    I care about human beings.

    Metal or more commonly now a days fiber glass is simple replaceable chattel.

    As ‘v’ increases in KE = 1/2Mv^2 the basic rule which you in your pure genius deign irrelevant….
    we are all waiting for your physics treatise by the way….

    the energy transferred to a human body leads to drastically different survivability outcomes with relatively minor increases in velocity.

    You are welcome to visit an emergency room any Saturday or Sunday morning for the cost imposed by your desired freedom to travel arbitrarily fast and your denial of Newtonian physics at the macro level.

  • Alex Oconnor

    In 1968 we when Cirillo did her now dated study on Interstates incidentlally we did not have the ability of dispersed enforcement.

    One thing that most influences compliance with posted speed limits is the liklihood of being “pinched”

    Even cirillo and later studies noted this. Now we have a better ability to ensure compliance. Leading to a higher liklihood of compliance based on the chance of being caught.

    The goal here is to save lives, or to save another human being from being permanently disabled.

    If the threat, dispersed as it is with modern technology, which makes Cirillo’s finding dealing with interstates even less relevant to arterial street than they already are, can be reduced by trivial time inconvenience and you object it just exposes you for the narcissist that you apparently are.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Sure because clearly this :

    is a rationally objective site. Purely without what was it you said ….politically loaded language.

    The site is as farcical as you have abundantly shown yourself… and your alleged neutrality.

    You are a liar.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Your cite……the defender of Drunk killers everywhere….

    My earlier point is even more concretely proven to the point of incredulity….I really cannot people like you exist….really drunk auto operating homicides…..awesome…..

    Yes my post about america being a place where real america believe that they can kill with quadratic impunity has been proven

    quod erat demonstrandum..

    or in this case reductio ab absurdum

    defend away the right to speed and kill (while drunk nonetheless) all you like

    You are a loon…..

    and if that site expresses your idea of the responsibility your are supposed to have to your fellow citizens then your license should be revoked.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Thank you so much for once again demonstrating that if there is no crash….well miraculously there is no crash.

    If you have an anti-human being agenda and do not care that their limbs are shrewn from their bodies by 5000 lbs vehicles with greater alacrity at 45 mph vs 25 mph that is your own fetish.

    Most people I think would appreciate their limbs; your perceived inconvenience by traveling slower be damned.

    You still cannot countermand the physics….physics is funny that way

  • Alex Oconnor

    No. It illustrates that you are incapable of distinguishing a highway from a road in an urban environment where there tend to be these pesky things that may interfere with the rapid traversal of your car….namely other human beings not in a car…..they do exist…and when they are struck by a car drove by one such as you who believes they should be able to drive arbitrarily fast…..well the rest is basic physics.

    The incidence of people in this country who care more for their autos than their fellow citizens is so well illustrated by your pure ignorance . narcissism, and callousness.

  • Alex Oconnor

    None of what you have posted deals with the reality of high speed cars tearing into human being not in cars. None.

    Your dented fender….yeah if I’m going 45 and your going 55……well that is much better that if I was going only 10mph.

    Problem is human beings (not in cars) typically do not go much faster that 20 mph on a bike or 3-4 mph on foot…..and this doesn;t even begin to address that pesky energy transfer between sheather high speed metal and human flesh…..

    That 5 minutes you save is clearly worth the risk of traumatic brain injury or dismemberment of a pedestrian or cyclist for as I earlier stated …people like yourself and your RDA gonzo site illustrates it so much better than I could…
    real american believe that have a god given right to injure , maim or kill in their autos with quadratic impunity.

    Of course you will once again indicate the KE is irrelevant….despite the cite you indicate which specifically addresses deviation from the mean velocity which in a dynamic situation v2-v1 essentially is v..yields greater risk of accident.

    You see…you care about auto damage….replaceable chattel

    I am concerned with the injuries suffered when the KE is transferred to human beings under the unyielding law of KE = 1/2Mv^2 and F=Ma.

    But you go ahead a weep for the auto drivers who get to their destination 5 minutes later;

    I’ll witness the strewn body parts by drivers driving 2 ton object too fast.

  • Alex Oconnor

    And now archer or any road for that matter in the city is a highway….clearly relevant once again

    You really are incredulously incredible

  • Alex Oconnor

    And that clearly indicates the effect of ‘v’on injury and survivability….

    I mean I am assuming you can read and you have a modicum of understanding of what the words you read mean,?

  • Alex Oconnor

    Key quote indeed…perhaps you should re-read them….if you are able.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Once again your graph does indicate what you think it does.

    Please read the axes of the graph….here is a clue….crashes do not indicate injury… are welcome

    and for 2 lane highways……irrelevant since we are not discussing highways….but once again your dishonesty or incompetence rears its gorgon head..

    the relevant areas under the curve are roughly identical….which make sense since relatively they are going an equal ‘v’ with respect to one another.


  • Alex Oconnor

    And the motto of the site you linked to is

    “Motorists’ Rights.. Matter! is a sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring ‘We the People’ and the Rule of Law to our traffic courts. By doing so we will make our roads safer, too.
    Motorists’ Rights.. Matter, because they represent the Rule of Law, the core values of fairness that our Country was founded on. Our founders tried to preserve the Rule of Law when they drafted the U.S. Constitution, by placing ‘We the People’ superior to the nature of power and greed of those that wield it. A concept our current court overseers have forgotten, and we’re here to remind or compel them to remember, and respect our heritage.”

    Because we have a god-given right to injure , maim or kill with quadratic impunity….

    this is priceless and awesome..

    seriously is this a Colbert skit…..because it is that good.

    OK I’m done you are a crank.
    The constitution and traffic court…..yea…the core values of fairness require that citizens not be mowed down by psychopathic narcissists who deem people not in cars as mere obstacles…..that is the rule of law….

    not this deranged lunacy you link to….

    Incidentally, I wonder what are the odds the you are anti-choice.?

  • Alex Oconnor

    You are absolutely wrong on that point. Senn abuts Ridge at ardmore, I walk and bike by it nearly every day. Additionally the park does as well. You couldn’t be more incorrect re Senn,-87.6671512,3a,75y,337.23h,90.77t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sJ0_e1i1P9Jo9m5a7E8xZxg!2e0

  • Alex Oconnor

    Just slow down and drive the speed limit. It will not kill you and may save someone or even your own life. Jesus.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Um please read pg 5. That is if you can.

  • Alex Oconnor

    You started the insults pure and simple. Just to obtuse to realize it.

  • what_eva

    Is there any signage to indicate that spot is CPD owned? I don’t see any. The park is called “Senn Playlot Park”, and I’m pretty sure that’s the park at Elmdale/Greenview a block and a half north of your map link. My impression has always been that the field, BB and tennis courts, etc on Ridge are CPS owned, not CPD, and in the case of speed camera, it makes a difference. If that is in fact CPD-owned land around the school, then you’re right.

  • oooBooo

    Look again.

  • oooBooo

    I don’t respond to ‘attack the hosting site’ arguments.
    Do something with the paper or it’s authors, not the site that hosts it.

  • oooBooo

    The problem is that you’re arguing against an argument you made up for me. Go fight strawmen somewhere else. You’ve expanded the branches again. You play every dishonest tactic in the book.

  • oooBooo

    Go get hit by a car at 25mph. Tell me if hurts less than not being hit by one at 40mph.

  • oooBooo

    You really fail at comprehension. Go re-read the argument I’ve made.

  • oooBooo

    Incredible? You’re the one who does two or more replies for every post.

    Perhaps you should read the definition of highway.

    (625 ILCS 5/1-126) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1-126)
    Sec. 1-126.
    The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly
    maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for
    purposes of vehicular travel or located on public school property.

    (Source: P.A. 92-780, eff. 8-6-02.)

  • oooBooo

    Once again, not crashing at 50mph is better than crashing at 15mph. Page 5 opf your cite deals with the change from the 55mph NMSL to the 55/65 NMSL. It’s irrelevant for today. It was the change from one grossly underposted speed limit to another slighly less grossly underposted speed limit.

  • oooBooo

    Ahh the blood on the highway appeal of the ‘speed kills’ type.
    Again not crashing means no blood, no injuries, nothing to point to. Which is of course is why I sometimes think some people want to create dangerous conditions. So they can have a failed program to justify more government control, greater revenues too if they are in the stream.

    I prefer not crashing at higher speed than crashing at lower speed.
    Want to test it? Pick any road you like, drive a 10th percentile speed.

    Your speed limit signs will not change travel speeds. Traffic speed is determined by road design. Only fear of enforcement with the sign will cause some drivers to slow, but not all. A speed camera causes brake slamming where the camera is, and immediate acceleration after it.

    There are two ways of going about traffic safety. Concerning one’s self with the severity of crashes or reducing the frequency of crashes. Americans prefer many crashes while attempting to control severity. However, this doesn’t work. It fails time and time again. But of course the other way is never tried, just double down on failure because it suits the politics better.

  • oooBooo

    Once again, your speed limit sign does not change the actual velocities.
    Archer is an arterial road. An urban highway. Archer doesn’t even have at grade intersections at some places. The same curve applies. The fact that you are ignorant of the legal and technical definition of highway is not my fault.

    Your argument consists of insults, strawmen, replying multiple times to the same post, and emotional appeals.

  • oooBooo

    Yet more blood on the highway emotional appeal.

    You aren’t going to get 25mph travel. You’ll get people slamming on their brakes before the camera and accelerating after. Some people will drive slower, this will simply increase their risk of being in a crash. You’ll create false expectations among other road users. Thus, You’ll create more danger. More crashes. More blood. More lost limbs. But it will make the connected cronies a ton of cash. It will suit your political purposes. You’ll have a failure to point to and demand more of the same to fix it.

    Once again you attack me personally with very insulting language. It’s amazing how despicable you and your ilk are.

  • oooBooo

    The hosting site has nothing to do with the USDOT paper I cited that happens to be hosted there. Once again, instead of dealing with the paper, you take the route of attacking the hosting site. Why you had to do this twice only speaks to your dishonesty.

    If you want to discuss US DOT Report No. FHWA-RD-92-084, Effects of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits, do so. Unless you can show that the hosting site altered the paper, your complaints about it are irrelevant.

  • oooBooo

    Three separate posts with the same content! What is your malfunction?

    Again the site hosting the USDOT paper is irrelevant. Deal with the paper or don’t reply at all.

  • oooBooo

    It’s always the same thing with people like you, more monitoring, more enforcement, greater punishments. Where does it stop? A view screen in every room of your home to make sure you don’t do anything illegal? It will save lives. We have the technology to accomplish it.

    The simple fact is that proper engineering works. It just doesn’t fit the underlying political motivations for which ‘saving lives’ is the cover.

  • Alex and oooBoo, Please refrain from personal attacks and bickering. Future messages of this nature will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be blacklisted. Thanks.

  • Alex Oconnor

    please do

  • Mike

    so why not just put in speed bumps if it’s so important for people to slow down? if the only goal is for people to slow down and not to fine them for millions of dollars they don’t have… then why not just put in speed bumps?

  • Alex Oconnor

    No. Page 5 states thus:

    “Another way to examine the relationship between vehicle speed and traffic safety

    is to measure the effects of lowering or raising speed limits on the incidence and

    severity of crashes. Table 3 summarizes the results of studies of this type

    conducted in several countries. The table shows that crash-incidence or crash

    severity, or both measures, generally decline whenever speed limits have been

    reduced. Conversely, the number of crashes or crash severity generally increased

    when speed limits were raised, especially on freeways”

    I eagerly await your next lie.

  • oooBooo

    Moderator? I thought not.
    Anyway read table three. 55 mi/h to 65 mi/h are the relevant US entries.

  • Alex, please lay off the personal attacks or these will be deleted. In general, it would be great to have less bickering between you guys, as it fills up our inboxes and is tiresome for other readers. Thanks.

  • niko

    i just received a warning ticket in the mail , letter states i was observed driving passed the park zone on 3100 south archer . funny i been around that area for 58 years know and never knew a park existed there. so i drove around scanning the area and there was a sign no going past the park zone over the limit of 25 mph 24 / 7 . i was observed on a sunday morning at 7 am , most likely knowing myself at a speed of 30- 35 mph . first off who observed me , well a camera of course . as i drove around there today looking for this ghost park which i could not find anyway i kept my speed well below the limit of 25 mph with about 20 cars honking and waving their fist at me for driving to slow i would make a good guess they were not aware of the speed cameras either . the closest park i know of is at archer & western going east to damen far from 31 & ashland . as far as a lot of accidents i have lived there all my life and this is a down and out lie . this is just a money making trick of our past and present mayor which has everyone driving on eggshells . with all the new schools and parks why not just make the speed limit 10 mph or put speed bumps . i mean have u ever seen as many schools in Chicago as we do today. 32 city alderman out of 50 voted yay for these camera’s 11th ward and 23rd ward voted yes to speed cameras knowing they are nonsise in 60 percent of the locations and time spand of which they exist . everyone should google which alderman voted for this arcade. if they are in your ward or a rep for the congressman or house rep / speaker you should remember them at election time . we have a eletion this upcoming november show them how you feel about them via voter turnout or numbers nothing rattles a politician more than a lower turn out or being voted out or a decline in the ammount of people that voted for them in previous elections . if they cannot stand up to a spoiled brat of a mayor that is concerned with making $$$ for himself and friends than you do not need that Rep . remember vote these crooks out or at least show them in numbers .


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