Chicago motorists who block bus lanes, bike lanes. crosswalks or loading zones might soon get nailed by surveillance cameras installed on CTA buses, “city vehicles,” light poles and other property pinpointed by City Hall.
Nearly 20 years after a CTA experiment with bus surveillance cameras failed miserably, Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to try it again and then some in a designated downtown area that has the “highest concentration of serious crashes, traffic congestion, public transit service, pedestrian and commercial activity in Chicago.”
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Lightfoot joined forces with downtown alderpersons Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Brendan Reilly (42nd) on a groundbreaking ordinance that would plunge Chicago deeper into the Big Brother world of video surveillance and automated ticketing.
It calls for creating a pair of pilot programs — “Smart Streets” and “Smart Loading Zones” — that use cameras to nail wayward motorists.
“These two pilots are aimed at encouraging better behavior behind the [wheel]. That’s really what we’re fundamentally about. We want to change driver behavior to make sure our streets are safer,” Lightfoot told a news conference after the Council meeting.
Both would use cameras mounted on public transit vehicles, city vehicles, city property and other locations identified by the Chicago Department of Transportation to record covered offenses and enforce parking regulations. Citations would hit mailboxes no sooner than 30 days after the system is installed. Every offending motorist would get one warning notice before being ticketed.