Speed enforcement cameras will make Chicago streets safer
Letter to the editor
10/26/2011 10:00 PM
As pedestrian and cyclist safety advocates, the Active Transportation Alliance supports state legislation that would allow the city of Chicago to use cameras to enforce speed limits in safety zones around schools and parks. This initiative is a way to make our streets safer, particularly for vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists who do not have the protection of an air bag, seat belt or steel frame.
Studies show that speeding leads to more crashes and deaths. According to research done by the United Kingdom Department of Transportation, at 40 mph, pedestrians survive a crash only about 15 percent of time. At 20 mph, the survival rate for pedestrians is 95 percent.
An analysis of more than 90 studies assessing speed enforcement cameras in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board found an average crash reduction of 20 to 25 percent, with more effective programs reducing crashes by more than 50 percent. In 2010, there were more than 3,000 recorded pedestrian crashes and nearly 1,600 recorded bicycle crashes in Chicago.
Camera locations should be selected first and foremost to improve safety, not just to generate revenue, and CDOT plans to do this. At the same time, the program will generate revenue, and we are pleased the city plans to use the money to fund safety improvements, including modifying street designs that actually encourage speeding. The long-term goal should be nearly 100 percent compliance, with no violations and no revenue generated.
Speeding drivers make roadways unsafe for vehicle passengers, cyclists, and everyone who uses our sidewalks and parks. Automated speed enforcement will slow down cars, save lives and make our neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly.
Ron L. Burke
Active Transportation Alliance