If Mayor Rahm Emanuel is really serious about cutting down on speeding in Chicago, he shouldn’t limit enforcement to Garfield Park, Washington Park and Marquette Park, where some of the city’s first speed cameras have been installed. He should go after the big shamozzle -- Lake Shore Drive.
Everyone speeds on Lake Shore Drive. Everyone. If you don’t speed on Lake Shore Drive, a tailgating SUV will devour your rear bumper. The speed limit is 40 miles an hour. A few weeks ago, I was headed north on LSD, and cars were passing me in the right-hand and left-hand lanes. I glanced at my speedometer. I was going 50.
Chicagoans treat Lake Shore Drive as a highway. But it runs most of its length alongside parks: first Lincoln Park, then Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park. That qualifies it for the speed camera program. In many places, only a short metal fence separates roadway from parkland. A child could easily step over it, and into traffic. Wouldn’t you rather have that child hit by an SUV traveling 40 miles an hour, rather than an SUV traveling 60 miles an hour?
Besides improved safety, the revenue possibilities of LSD speed cameras are extraordinary. Since drivers receive a $100 ticket for exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles an hour, and since everyone does that on LSD, the city would collect $200 from every commuter, every day. That’s $1,000 a week, and $50,000 a year. Some drivers would be devoting most of their income to paying speed camera tickets.
And if drivers don’t like that, they can leave Chicago. There’s no place for child-endangering scofflaws here.