CHICAGO — Mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia says he’ll shut down the city’s controversial red light cameras on his first day in office.
Garcia called the automated ticketing program a “rip-off” effort from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
It’s a new position for Garcia on the cameras. In December he said he would keep only camera’s proven to reduce accidents.
The Mayor has agreed to install countdown lights at all camera intersections to warn drivers of how much time they have to make the light.
Garcia calls that trying to put a band aid on a broken system.
However, Garcia didn’t specify how he’ll replace the $70 million a year in lost revenue.
The camera program has been troubled for years. An executive for Redflex, the original contractor, was found to have paid bribes to the city official in charge of awarding and overseeing the contract.
Studies have also shown the cameras have mixed impact on safety. They reduce broadside, or T-bone accidents at some intersections, but cause more rear end crashes from drivers stopping suddenly to avoid tickets.
Some yellow lights at camera intersections were found to be shorter than required, resulting in thousands of tickets that would not otherwise have been generated.