Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Announces Removal of 50 Red Light Cameras Amid New Reforms

The announcement comes after mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia promised last week to remove all of the red-light cameras in Chicago

City officials announced the removal of 50 red light cameras from 25 intersections amid new reforms to the program Sunday afternoon.

The announcement comes after mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia promised last week to yank all of the red light cameras from intersections in Chicago, unless studies showed they enhanced safety.

"Today, the countdown clock officially began on the red light program in Chicago," Garcia said in a statement. "In less than a month, voters will have the chance to end Rahm Emanuel's red light rip-off."

The 50 cameras in question had not yet been taken down as of Sunday, but they stopped giving tickets at 12:01 a.m. Friday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. After the removal of these red light cameras, 302 of them will remain at nearly 150 intersections.

The removal marks a 20 percent reduction in red light cameras, according to the Sun-Times.

The mayor's office said Emanuel would attend the announcement just a few hours before the 2 p.m. event Sunday. Several aldermen, including Anthony Beale, Tom Tunney, Natashia Holmes and Carrie Austin, as well as Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld were also in attendance.

In addition to removing several cameras, Emanuel announced new reforms for the program. These included required public community meetings before a camera is removed, moved or installed; outlining a plan to install pedestrian countdown timers at all cameras without timers; and providing first-time offenders the opportunity to enroll in online safety traffic classes instead of paying the $100 fine. 

The debate over red light cameras has been front and center in the mayoral race, as the city rakes in millions in what many -- including the mayor -- recognize as a flawed system.

The mayor's office also released a statement Sunday decrying Garcia's shaky stance on the red light program.

"Even as Rahm continues commonsense reforms to increase transparency and public trust in this safety program, the only thing voters can count on from Chuy Garcia is that his position could change again tomorrow," Steve Mayberry, a spokesman for the mayor, said.

Garcia countered the mayor's statement by writing it off as "pure politics."

"This new move by Mayor Emanuel is too little, too late," Garcia said. "I am confident voters will see this announcement today for what it is -- pure politics. It's time for a change."

The 25 intersections where red light cameras will be removed are listed below. The cameras at these intersections stopped issuing tickets as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 6.

  • Ashland and 47th
  • Ashland and 63rd
  • Ashland and Archer
  • Ashland and Diversey
  • Ashland and Garfield
  • California and 31st
  • Central and Madison
  • Cicero and Stevenson Expressway
  • Cornell and 57th
  • Cottage Grove and 95th
  • Damen and Blue Island
  • Elston and Foster
  • Halsted and 63rd
  • Halsted and 83rd
  • Harlem and Northwest Highway
  • Jeffrey and 79th
  • Kimball, McCormick and Lincoln
  • Narragansett, 55th and Archer
  • Osceola and Touhy
  • Pulaski and Montrose
  • Stony Island and 83rd
  • Vincennes and 111th
  • Western Ave and 51st
  • Western, Armitage and Milwaukee
  • Western and Pratt
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