Do you support Chicago's traffic light camera program? Please explain.

Public Safety

As in hundreds of other cities, Chicago's red light camera program has proven to be an effective tool in making our streets safer for drivers, bikers and pedestrians. At intersections with red light cameras the number of crashes that result in injuries have fallen by 22 percent. From 2005 to 2012, the number of people injured at intersections with red light cameras dropped from 1023 to 798. But the red light camera program can only be effective if the public trust is as strong as the public safety impact. My administration inherited this system and took quick action with the Inspector General when we learned of problems. I fired Redflex when we learned of fraud, and implemented a much more thorough level of accountability when a new operations contract was awarded. The new vendor has more advanced camera equipment and analysis capabilities. The vendor was required to establish an early warning system to identify ticketing anomalies, hold more frequent management meetings to review performance with Chicago Department of Transportation officials, and post ticket data on the City's open data portal to ensure full transparency for motorists and taxpayers. My administration continues to work with the Inspector General when needed to ensure we are constantly monitoring and improving the system.

The traffic light program is simply another tax on city residents required to fund the $1 billion increase in spending under Mayor Emanuel during the last 4 years. I would severely restrict the program or end it entirely. Under this administration, vehicle sticker costs are up, cable TV and phone taxes are up, water and sewer fees are up. As the Tribune reported, the additional city tax, fee and fine collections resulting from the increases in the mayor's four spending plans "will easily pump more than $700 million annually into city coffers." I agree with the Tribune's analysis that these fee increases amount to a 60% increase in property taxes for the typical Chicago homeowner. I would add the traffic light fines to the cost of this stealth tax put on our families by the Emanuel Administration. Our families have been simply stretched to the breaking point, and it is time for a new direction. I would keep only those traffic cameras that can be fully proven to have reduced accidents. If the cameras are simply another source of revenue, I would remove them.

As a new candidate I have to access the problem and make a decision after reviewing the issue.

I do not favor the use of mechanical devices for the enforcement of minor infractions. Instead, I favor highly visible devices which broadcast or reflect a drivers speed, or warn of a possible violation. The city's objective should be to ensure compliance and adherence to the law. Thus, minimal warnings should be sufficient to accomplish that objective. If further enforcement is deemed necessary, it should be done by law enforcement officers. I would eliminate the, so called, red light cameras. "Yellow has become the new red" at known camera enforced intersections. Drivers are programmed to obey with reckless abandon. Consequently, drivers slam on their brakes early to avoid possibly getting ticketed. As Mayor, I will return the ill gotten $7.7 million due to drivers unfairly ensnared by Rahm Emanuel's policy of shortened yellow lights at camera enforced intersections. My administration will eliminate ticketing for Speed Zone violations, based solely upon the camera footage.

No. It is fraught with bribery and an embroiled in an ongoing grand jury investigation. The red light camera program has nickel and dimed Chicagoans been maligned with mismanagement, and hasn't made our citizens any safer. The lack of oversight of the program has been appalling. I believe in first putting a moratorium on new red light and speed cameras, and then phasing them out in favor of other methods of making intersections safer. Any revenues earned from these cameras should go to funding these alternatives. If the traffic light program was truly about intersection safety, when we would be doing this already. It clearly is not.