Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Bicycling

Here are 16 alders who voted to allow deadly speeds, and crash cases in their wards.

The 16 alderpersons who voted in committee to allow drivers to speed by up to 9 mph over the limit with impunity.

Send a letter to your alderperson asking them to vote against the ordinance that would allow motorists to travel at deadly speeds with impunity.

There are multiple reasons why Ald. Anthony' Beale's (9th) proposed ordinance to roll back Chicago's current 6 mph speed camera ticketing threshold to 10 mph is a bad idea. We know that the cameras have generally been saving lives – a UIC study released last January found that that from 2015-17, the cams prevented an estimated 204 injury and fatality crashes.

And there are indications that the current practice issuing automated enforcement tickets to drivers speeding by 6 mph, started in March of last year, is making the cameras even more effective at improving safety. Injury crashes near speed cameras were down by 13 percent in January to April of this year, compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. In contrast, the citywide injury crash rate only dropped by 3 percent during that time.

This graph also shows that, while the number of drivers ticketed for speeding skyrocketed in March 2021 under the new rule, after peaking in early May, it steadily dropped to approach the previous rate. That indicates the new 6 mph threshold had the intended effect of encouraging safer speeds.

According to IPI, overall eight times as many citations were issued per day this year (red line) under the 6 mph ticketing threshold as were issued in previous years (green lines) under the 10 mph rule. However, the number of tickets issued last year steadily fell after hitting a peak on May 7. Graph: IPI based of Chicago Department of Finance data
Overall, eight times as many citations were issued per day in 2021 (red line) under the new 6 mph ticketing threshold as were issued in previous years (green lines) under the 10 mph rule. However, the number of tickets issued last year steadily fell after hitting a peak on 13,889 citations issued on May 7, 2021, dropping to only 5,683 tickets, less than half of the peak, by October 23, 2021. If that downward trend continues, the number of citations issued under the 6 mph won't be that different than the number of tickets issued under the previous 10 mph threshold. Graph: Illinois Policy Institute based of Chicago Department of Finance data
According to IPI, overall eight times as many citations were issued per day this year (red line) under the 6 mph ticketing threshold as were issued in previous years (green lines) under the 10 mph rule. However, the number of tickets issued last year steadily fell after hitting a peak on May 7. Graph: IPI based of Chicago Department of Finance data

We also know that if Beale's ordinance passes, allowing motorists to speed by up to 9 mph over the speed limit, many more Chicagoans will be seriously injured or killed in crashes. Federal studies found that while people struck at 30 mph, our city's default speed limit, usually survive, those hit at 40 mph almost always die. 40 is the lowest speed at which a driver would be ticketed under the new ordinance.

FWCTAykXEAAkaZI

And while automatic enforcement shouldn't be relied on as a strategy to fill the city's coffers, revenue from Chicago's speed cameras does fund important safety initiatives, including traffic safety infrastructure and the Safe Passage program to protect CPS students, as well as after-school programs. According to the city's budget office, rolling back the ticketing threshold to 10 mph means these initiatives would lose up to $45 million a year in funding.

There have been legitimate concerns about automatic enforcement tickets and late fees disproportionately impacting low-income people who drive. But in April Chicago launched the Clear Path equity initiative, which halves the fines for single people making $41,000 or less and offers a ticket debt forgiveness program. That means citations for speeding by 6-9 mph, the type of tickets Beale wants to eliminate, normally $35, cost Clear Path participants $17.50, less than three gallons of gas nowadays. And, of course, you can opt out of getting ticketed at all by only speeding by 5 mph or less, assuming you feel the need to speed at all.

It's also worth noting that, tragically, Black Chicagoans die in crashes at more than twice the rate of white residents.

Nevertheless on Tuesday, 16 alderpersons voted for Beale's ordinance at last Tuesday's City Council Committee on Finance meeting, passing it by a single vote. Their decision was particularly problematic because earlier this month speeding and/or negligent drivers had killed kids in Chicago: Rafi Cardenas, 2; Lily Shambrook, 3; and Ja’Lon James, 11. And this Wednesday a 13-year-old girl died from injuries sustained last Sunday in Gresham, when an SUV driver struck the car she was riding in.

Beale tried to get final approval of his ordinance at Wednesday's full council meeting, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot delayed the vote via a procedural maneuver. The matter will likely be settled at a Council meeting next month.

In the meantime, let's take closer look at who voted against and for Beale's proposal to let motorists travel at deadly speeds. First, let's give credit to the 15 alderpersons who tried to block this misguided legislation, despite speed cameras being unpopular with many drivers.

    • Greg Mitchell (7th)
    • Michelle Harris (8th)
    • Nicole Lee (11th)
    • George Cardenas (12th)
    • Derrick Curtis (18th)
    • Walter Burnett (27th)
    • Jason Ervin (28th)
    • Chris Taliaferro (29th)
    • Ariel Rebroyas (30th)
    • Scott Waguespack (32nd)
    • Carrie Austin (34th)
    • Emma Mitts (37th)
    • Nicolas Sposato (38th)
    • Michele Smith (43rd)
    • Harry Osterman (48th)

Next, let's meet the 16 alders who supported the ordinance, in effect saying they don't have a problem with motorists driving at lethal speeds.

    • Anthony Beale (9th) ordinance sponsor
    • Brian Hopkins (2nd)
    • Pat Dowell (3rd)
    • Sophia King (4th)
    • Leslie Hairston (5th)
    • Roderick Sawyer (6th)
    • Anthony Beale (9th)
    • Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10th)
    • Marty Quinn (13th)
    • Raymond Lopez (15th)
    • David Moore (17th)
    • Matthew O’Shea (19th)
    • Silvana Tabares, (23rd)
    • Anthony Napolitano (41st)
    • Brendan Reilly (42nd)
    • Tom Tunney (44th)
    • Debra Silverstein (50th)

Now let's look at recent traffic violence cases in the anti-cam alders' wards that should have inspired them to vote differently on Tuesday, or should motivate them to change their position when the measure goes before the full Council next month.

Anthony Beale (9th), ordinance sponsor

On Monday, June 14, 2022, a Saturn driver hit another vehicle at 103rd and Wallace streets in Roseland, struck and injured a pedestrian, and then crashed into a building.

After CDOT gave a presentation on the proven safety benefits of speed cameras at a Finance Committee meeting, Beale said, "The argument that you all are trying to make that this is about public safety is totally, totally disingenuous."

Anthony Beale and the Roseland pedestrian injury crash. Images: Twitter, CBS Chicago
Anthony Beale and the Roseland pedestrian injury crash. Images: Twitter, CBS Chicago
Anthony Beale and the Roseland pedestrian injury crash. Images: Twitter, CBS Chicago

Brian Hopkins (2nd)

On December 19, 2021, Moiz Uddin, 33, was killed after another motorist ran a red light and struck his vehicle near Augusta Boulevard and Damen Avenue in Ukrainian Village. He left behind a wife and seven-month-old son.

Following CDOT's Finance Committee presentation, including why 39 mph is a lethal speed, Hopkins said residents feel that ticketing people at 6-9 mph over the limit is “petty” and “all about revenue.”

Briand Hopkins and Moiz Uddin. Images: Twitter, Facebook
Briand Hopkins and Moiz Uddin. Images: Twitter, Facebook
Briand Hopkins and Moiz Uddin. Images: Twitter, Facebook

Pat Dowell (3rd)

Last Sunday, June 19, 2022, a sedan driver struck and critically injured a 21-year-old woman walking near Ida B. Wells Drive and State Street in the South Loop.

Dowell is running for Congress.

Pat Dowell and the Ida B. Wells and State intersection. Images: Twitter, John Greenfield
Pat Dowell and the Ida B. Wells and State intersection. Images: Twitter, John Greenfield
Pat Dowell and the Ida B. Wells and State intersection. Images: Twitter, John Greenfield

Sophia King (4th)

On February 28, 2022, a BMW sedan driver ran a red light at Balbo Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive in the Loop, fatally striking Gerardo Marciales, 41, on a Divvy bike.

Sophia King and Gerardo Marciales.
Sophia King and Gerardo Marciales.
Sophia King and Gerardo Marciales.

"I don't think you've proven that in these locations [the 6-9 mph rule is reducing crashes and fatalities]," King said to CDOT at a Finance Committee hearing. See the graph above showing that speeding by more than 6 mph steadily fell near the cameras as drivers got used to the new rule and changed their behavior to avoid tickets.

Leslie Hairston (5th)

Hairston provides a good example of why replacing automated enforcement with safer street design, as some have suggested, is easier said than done. A vocal opponent of speed cameras and red light cameras, in 2016 she also helped kill a CDOT proposal for a road diet with protected bike lanes on eight-lane Stony Island Avenue in her ward.

Lesley Hairston, Luster Jackson and Lee Luellen.
Lesley Hairston, Luster Jackson and Lee Luellen, Chicagoans who were fatally struck while riding bikes on Stony Island Avenue after Hairston blocked CDOT's proposal for a road diet with protected bike lanes on that stretch.
Lesley Hairston, Luster Jackson and Lee Luellen.

Two years after Hairston blocked the project, on July 28, 2018, a driver fatally struck Luster Jackson, 58, while he was riding a bike near 72nd Street and Stony Island, on the proposed road diet stretch. And the following year, on November 17, 2019, a motorist struck and killed Lee Luellen, 40, while he was biking at 67th Street and Stony in Hairston's Ward, only five blocks north of where Jackson was killed. That driver was cited for failure to reduce speed.

Prior to the Finance Committee vote, Hairston argued that it's unfair that there are no speed cameras in the Lincoln Park community, although there are, in fact, speed cameras in Lincoln Park community.

Roderick Sawyer (6th)

Sawyer is running for mayor. On February 13, 2022, a 21-year-old man was seriously injured when he crashed a minivan into an apartment building near 87th and State in Chatham. A 74-year-old woman inside the building was also hospitalized.

It's "really difficult to try and legislate [against] bad driving," Sawyer said at a Finance Committee hearing, despite being presented with evidence that speed cameras are reducing speeding and crashes, and the 6 mph threshold has made them more effective.

Roderick Sawyer and the crash near 87th/State. Images: Twitter, ABC Chicago
Roderick Sawyer and the crash near 87th/State. Images: Twitter, ABC Chicago
Roderick Sawyer and the crash near 87th/State. Images: Twitter, ABC Chicago

Sue Sadlowski Garza (10th)

On April 14, 2022, a speeding driver died after crashing their car into a guardrail in the 3200 block of East 106th Street in the East Side neighborhood.

After CDOT gave a presentation on the proven safety benefits of speed cameras at a Finance Committee meeting, Sadlowski Garza said, "I don’t believe in speed cameras... It doesn’t change the way people drive."

Sadlowsky Garza and the 3200 block of East 106th Street. Images: Twitter, Google Maps
Sadlowsky Garza and the 3200 block of East 106th Street. Images: Twitter, Google Maps
Sadlowsky Garza and the 3200 block of East 106th Street. Images: Twitter, Google Maps

Marty Quinn (13th)

On March 11, 2020, a tow truck driver reportedly ran several lights and crashed into a car at 63rd Street and Kilbourn Avenue in the West Lawn neighborhood, killing a 59-year-old man who was driving the car, and then fled on foot.

Marty Quinn and the crash at 62nd and Kilbourn. Images: Facebook, ABC Chicago
Marty Quinn and the crash at 62nd and Kilbourn. Images: Facebook, ABC Chicago
Marty Quinn and the crash at 62nd and Kilbourn. Images: Facebook, ABC Chicago

Ray Lopez (15th)

On January 12, 2022, a car driver crashed into a clinic at Sacramento and Archer in the Brighton Park neighborhood.

"[Speed cameras are] basically a tax on the driving public," Lopez said at a Finance Committee hearing. "It's taxation on only a select group of people." In reality the tickets represent a tax on an even more select group of people, the subset of drivers who choose to speed at 6 mph+ near speed cameras.

Ray Lopez and the crash at Sacramento and Archer. Images: Twitter, ABC Chicago
Ray Lopez and the crash at Sacramento and Archer. Images: Twitter, ABC Chicago
Ray Lopez and the crash at Sacramento and Archer. Images: Twitter, ABC Chicago

David Moore (17th)

On November 7, 2021, a U-Haul truck driver ran a red in the 7400 block of South Ashland Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood and struck a pickup truck, killing a 26-year-old passenger in the U-Haul and injuring four other people.

Moore is running for Illinois secretary of state.

David Moore and the 7400 block of South Ashland. Images: Twitter, Google Maps
David Moore and the 7400 block of South Ashland. Images: Twitter, Google Maps
David Moore and the 7400 block of South Ashland. Images: Twitter, Google Maps

Matt O'Shea (19th)

On March 15, 2022, a car driver fatally struck Allen Lee Jr., 88, as he attempted to cross Western Avenue at 110th Street in Morgan Park.

Matt O'Shea and the 11000 block of South Western. Images: Facebook, Google Maps
Matt O'Shea and the 11000 block of South Western. Images: Facebook, Google Maps
Matt O'Shea and the 11000 block of South Western. Images: Facebook, Google Maps

Silvana Tabares (23rd)

On February 23, 2022 a woman was pushing a stroller with a three-year-old child in it in the 6200 block of South Pulaski Road when a hit-and-run sedan driver swerved around traffic in a median and struck the toddler.

Silvana Tabares and the 6200 block of South Pulaski. Images: Facebook, Google Maps
Silvana Tabares and the 6200 block of South Pulaski. Images: Facebook, Google Maps
Silvana Tabares and the 6200 block of South Pulaski. Images: Facebook, Google Maps

Anthony Napolitano (41st)

On January 20, 2022, a hit-and-run driver fatally struck retired police officer Richard Haljean, 57, as he crossed Touhy Avenue at Oriole Avenue in Edison Park. At the time, a speed camera had been approved for Touhy, but not installed.

Nathony Napolitano and Richard Haljean.
Anthony Napolitano and Richard Haljean.
Nathony Napolitano and Richard Haljean.

Brendan Reilly (42nd)

On May 12, 2022, a hit-and-run driver struck Bryce Summary, a visitor to Chicago from St. Louis, at Ohio Street and Michigan Avenue on the Near North Side, inflicting severe injuries that required the amputation of both his legs.

Brendan Reilly, Bryce Summary and his family.
Brendan Reilly, Bryce Summary and his family.
Brendan Reilly, Bryce Summary and his family.

Tom Tunney (44th)

On August 14, 2021, a speeding hit-and-run-driver fatally struck Sophie Allen, 27, and Addison Street and Kenmore Avenue in the Lakeview neighborhood. Allen had recently beaten breast cancer and was engaged to be married.

Tom Tunney and an Image of Sophie Allen at the crash site. Images: Twitter, John Greenfield
Tom Tunney and an image of Sophie Allen at the crash site. Images: Twitter, John Greenfield
Tom Tunney and an Image of Sophie Allen at the crash site. Images: Twitter, John Greenfield

Debra Silverstein (50th)

On July 14, 2021, an off-duty police officer driving an SUV struck and killed Herschel Weiberger, on his bike at Chase and Sacramento avenues in the West Ridge neighborhood. The cop reportedly ran a stop sign.

Debra Silverstein and Herschel Weinberger.
Debra Silverstein and Herschel Weinberger.
Debra Silverstein and Herschel Weinberger.

“We must all take this as a stark reminder to always drive safely—especially on residential streets," Silverstein said in a statement following the crash. "Drive slowly."

But apparently Alderperson Silverstein, and these other 15 Council members, don't think motorists should be required to drive any slower than 40 mph in 30 zones. Again, that's a speed at which a motorist who strikes a child like Herschel will almost certainly kill them.

Send a letter to your alderperson asking them to vote against the ordinance that would allow motorists to travel at deadly speeds with impunity.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

South Branch riverfront proposal aims to connect parks, expand green space, and improve transportation, recreation

The McKinley Park Development Council gave an overview of its new riverfront redesign plan last week at a public meeting.

June 15, 2024

CDOT is installing a lot more bikeways in 2024. Here’s an interactive map of the locations.

The Ward Wise civic tech group at Chi Hack Night put together the map, and graciously allowed Streetsblog to publish it.

June 14, 2024

New walk/bike/transit nonprofit GoodForUs.org is working on Ravenswood Bike Lending Library, other projects

The group would like to see bike libraries expand citywide, and has other ideas to get more people to use active transportation more often and drive less.

June 13, 2024
See all posts