As of Monday, new red light cameras are operating at the high-traffic intersection of Lake Street and Wacker Drive.
The cameras were installed as safety measures based on academic data from Northwestern University researchers who say they can prove red light cameras help reduce serious injury crashes, the Chicago Department of Transportation said.
Northwestern researchers found that while serious injuries may be reduced, the amount of minor fender benders at red light camera intersections may actually increase.
These new cameras come less than a month after sets were installed at Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue and Ontario Street. CDOT was not immediately able to provide data on the amount of tickets issued from those cameras.
Some pedestrians welcome the cameras because they say motorists tend to cut across crosswalks.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stutter stop and things like that,” commuter Stewart Fisher said, “waiting for [the cars] to go and they cut it so close.”
Fisher said he hopes the $100 fine for running a red light will cause motorists to stop and think before they go, but commuter Ilba Chan was more cynical, saying the cameras are a cash grab destined to fail.
“It’s all about how much they can make,” Chan said. “Years from now they are going to come back and take it down.”
Downtown drivers have a two-week grace period until March 5 to get used to the new cameras before tickets will be issued, CDOT said.