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Aldermen Demand Red-Light Camera Answers

A group of alderman recently proposed a resolution to the city seeking answers regarding local red-light cameras. The company responsible for installing the devices is now under fire.

When it comes to red-light cameras, local aldermen want answers.

A group of them introduced a resolution at last week's City Council meeting calling for hearings on how the camera sites were chosen.

They want proof, they said, that the Australian company, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., and Chicago installed the devices to improve traffic safety rather than to create a source of revenue.

Red-light camera enforcement started in 2003, when officials launched a pilot program at two area intersections—one on the North Side and one on the South Side. The city alleges that those locations, as well as all subsequent camera sites, were chosen based on Chicago Department of Tranportation crash data.

"All intersections except one have two cameras monitoring two of the four directional approaches ... " the city's website says. "Though just two approaches are monitored, CDOT posts signs at all four approaches identifying the intersection as photo-enforced."

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The closest cameras to this area are at 111th Street and Vincennes and 95th Street and Ashland, according to the city's data. Many more are scattered across the South Side and more than 150 are placed within the city's boundaries.

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) says he and his fellow aldermen are looking for more information about the cameras—data, revenue and site selection, to name a few.

"Since the program was started ... the red lights have brought in over $300 million," he said. "According to reports, RedFlex the ... company just implicated in a 'corrupt' deal with the city of Chicago, made over $100 million in this time frame. In this release to Australian version of the SEC, Redflex mentions that the city of Chicago inspector general is reviewing the activity which means we need to tighten contracting laws."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last week that Redflex would be dropped from the red-light camera contract.

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