CITY HALL — A Downtown alderman wants to see new traffic cameras to ticket moving violations — for cars that aren't moving.
During City Council budget hearings Thursday, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) proposed using automated cameras to enforce an old inner-city traffic campaign to "Don't Block the Box."
Reilly was referring to cars stuck in the middle of intersections when the lights change, thus blocking cross traffic. He specifically mentioned the corner of Randolph and LaSalle streets directly outside City Hall, saying the practice had recently worsened with road construction for the Loop Link Bus Rapid Transit on Randolph and on Washington Boulevard.
While acknowledging that numerous details would need to be worked out, Reilly insisted, "It would really improve traffic safety and flow."
Reilly proposed a pilot program, adding, "It would more than pay for itself, and curb some really poor behavior."
Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld seemed receptive to the proposal, agreeing there was a problem and adding, "It's a question of having the enforcement resources."
Many inner cities across the nation have staged periodic "Don't Block the Box" campaigns to discourage drivers from getting their cars trapped in intersections in congested traffic when the lights change.
Speed and red-light traffic cameras, however, have proved to be controversial and unpopular with Chicago drivers, even as they've raised hundreds of millions in revenue.
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