BUCKTOWN — An open house to get public feedback on a plan to remove red-light cameras at two Bucktown intersections drew a handful of people earlier this week, and nobody appeared to have qualms about bidding goodbye to the cameras.
Just six people showed up to an Open House at Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley Ave. on Wednesday held by the Chicago Department of Transportation, including two reporters and two activists from the anti-camera group Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.
Mark Wallace, leader of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, called the hour-long gathering — the last on a 13-stop traveling tour that began in August — "a sham."
"It's another deception of this program by the city. During the campaign [Mayor Rahm Emanuel said] he was getting rid of 50 cameras. Why didn't the community have a chance to have this process in the beginning, to accept or reject the cameras when they were installed?" Wallace asked.
Wallace said the approximately 30 active members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras will not stop protesting the cameras, which capture photos of cars and drivers and issue tickets automatically, until all of the devices are removed.
The 50 cameras slated for removal, including two in Bucktown, have been turned off since March, after Emanuel said that he would eliminate 50 cameras at 25 intersections across the city and outlined plans to reform the more than 300 red-light cameras still in operation.
Steve Isakson, a Palmer Square resident, said he was pleased to see that the presentation slides, displayed on stands in the field house's gymnasium, examined crash data.
All the cameras that city officials are planning to remove had only one or fewer T-bone crashes in 2013, according to state statistics.
Paul Sajovec, a spokesman for Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who's been highly skeptical of the red-light cameras, described the open house as "a formality."
"We weren't really asked in the first place to say whether we wanted [the cameras] or not," Sajovec said.
A CDOT official at Wednesday's gathering indicated that the public open houses were a formality as part of an amended ordinance to get community input and "be more open and transparent."
Now that all 13 of the community meetings have concluded, CDOT will gather the feedback and make final determinations on which cameras to remove.
Some red-light cameras, such as a pair near two schools in Edison Park will likely stay, at the request of a local alderman.
Sajovec said that the 32nd Ward office has "not received any indications from neighborhood organizations or constituents that they have any problems or issues with removing the cameras."
The camera at Ashland and Diversey avenues generated $2,339,734 in fines after issuing 19,744 tickets from 2011 through July, according to information obtained by the Sun-Times.
The camera at Western and Armitage avenues generated $645,983 in fines after issuing 4,775 tickets from 2011 through July, according to information obtained by the newspaper.
CDOT Red Light Camera Program, Slides Shared at CDOT's Open House
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