Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was delivered a rebuke by the City Council on Tuesday, as the finance committee narrowly voted to repeal a tightened-ordinance that allowed for drivers to be fined if they were captured going six miles per hour or more above the speed limit in school zones and near parks.
That ordinance, which allowed drivers to be assessed a $35 ticket if they were driving between 6-to-9 mph over the limit, took another step toward being changed on Tuesday by a 16-15 vote by the committee, sending it to the full City Council for a vote on Wednesday.
Lightfoot, who spoke out harshly against the measure on Tuesday, blasted lawmakers who voted in favor of repealing the ordinance.
“The City Council Committee on Finance voted to sanction higher speeds around schools and parks when it seems that every day that there is another traffic fatality because of speeding and reckless driving,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “It is simply unconscionable that, after losing 173 Chicagoans to speed-related traffic fatalities in 2021, some Aldermen are acting with so little regard for public safety.”
Lightfoot said that the fines generated by the cameras help pay for infrastructure, after-school programming and other budget items.
The bill being considered by the City Council would eliminate speed camera fines for drivers going less than 10 miles per hour under the speed limit in school zones and near Chicago parks. The original ordinance assessed a $35 ticket to drivers caught going between 6-to-9 mph over the speed limit in school zones, with a warning issued for a first offense.
Under the new ordinance, that $35 ticket would not apply unless a driver is going 10 miles per hour or more above the speed limit in school zones.
According to data from Block Club Chicago, Chicago speed cameras issued 2.3 million tickets in the first 10 months of 2021 after the change was made, nearly as many as they had issued in the previous three years combined.