Garcia Pushes to End Red Light Cameras, Emanuel Favors Countdown Clocks | NBC Chicago
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Garcia Pushes to End Red Light Cameras, Emanuel Favors Countdown Clocks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Red light cameras and the expensive tickets they generate were in the political spotlight Thursday. NBC Chicago’s political report Mary Ann Ahern has the latest. (Published Thursday, March 5, 2015)

    Flanked by those who want red light cameras taken down, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia promised Thursday to yank red light cameras from Chicago intersections.

    “It’s time to end the red light rip-off and I will do it on day one,” Garcia said.

    In December Garcia called for a moratorium on red light cameras, and during the mayoral election debates he said the cameras should come down completely – except if studies showed they provided safety.

    Meanwhile Mayor Emanuel has made changes to the program and promises to make even more. As for his thoughts on Garcia, he believes this is another point his runoff contender flip-flops on.

    “I don't know [his] position, from one day to the other it shifts,” Emanuel said in response to Garcia’s announcement.

    One thing they can agree on is that the current red light camera system is flawed.

    Emanuel has made recent changes to the program, replacing the red light operater and taking down 32 cameras from intersections across the city.

    “It was a corrupt deal that I inherited and I said, ‘That’s not going to work anymore,’” Emanuel told reporters Thursday. “That’s why we made fundamental changes to it.”

    Emanuel has since added new speed cameras and is now supporting aldermen who want to add a countdown clock to warn motorists how soon the light will change.

    “There are about 43 to go and we’re going to put a timeframe to get them all done so people have the knowledge they need to drive safely,” Emanuel said.

    Garcia fired back to those remarks, saying the mayor was “trying to put a Band-Aid on a program that has been disingenuous and has been dishonest.”

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