Red light camera trap

New to the Milwaukee-Diversey-Kimball intersection is a camera attempting to catch you running a red light.  The city says to reduce crashes.  Consensus says to raise revenue

Or at least the sign is new (or is it just new to me?).  The City of Chicago Traffic Information map indicates that the camera was installed June 29, 2009, but I — and I know I’m not alone — just noticed the sign (photo below).

Red Light Camera Signage at

I don’t have crash statistics for the intersection.  I can just say anecdotally I haven’t seen any crashes at this intersection, nor any detritus from a crash.  Traffic moves pretty darn slowly here, which isn’t a bad thing for Milwaukee Avenue.  Slower traffic means drivers have time to take in all that is Milwaukee Avenue, rather than drive through it quickly on the way to someplace else.

I may have said it before:  I am regularly amazed at drivers that choose to drive this stretch of Milwaukee Avenue and some distance before and after the stretch.  There are quicker routes to get around by car.  Diversey Avenue and Kimball Avenue traffic here isn’t much quicker.

But still drivers choose Milwaukee Avenue.  I think people like to be part of the action, part of a scene of activity.  That doesn’t necessarily apply to Diversey Avenue and Kimball Avenue where drivers don’t have the same options for alternative routes without going out of their way. 

However, the heavy/slow Milwaukee Avenue traffic, the six corner intersection, the six or so bus stops, street parking, left turns into the strip center on Diversey Avenue, and more recently the street closures for the Hairpin Lofts construction, combine for a whole lot of things drivers must watch out for.  With drivers more on guard, there tends to be reduced speed and fewer crashes.

That’s not to say that drivers don’t run red lights; just to say that this is more about revenue than safety.  Beware.

Scene in Logan Square:

Summer on the Square:  St. John Berchmans’ annual block party, Saturday,
June 19, 5:00 – 10:00 p.m., at 2517 W. Logan Blvd.; live music, kids’ activities, beer garden and a huge multi-cultural selection of food.


4 Responses to Red light camera trap

  1. luke says:

    “this is more about revenue than safety” –couldn’t agree more. Revenue was the deciding factor for our Mayor and the council. At least that’s what I think.
    I really like the blog btw, keep on!

  2. ben says:

    Just moved to LS and read your blog on Sunrise and the traffic lights. I have to wonder though, why would anyone care if the photo enforcement is for revenue? My blood pressure sky rockets every time I see someone pushing a yellow light or running a red. So, if city needs money and people break the law, why is it wrong to make money off of that?

    ben: First, welcome to the neighborhood! I know you’ll enjoy it here.

    Regarding red light cameras, I didn’t say it was wrong. Luke didn’t say it was wrong. We’re just saying that the party line that these cameras are about safety is wrong. They’re about revenue. If safety was the concern, they’d increase the yellow lights beyond 3 seconds. ~ Lynn

  3. Update: I’ve heard of two recent crashes at this intersection, including one that took out the bus shelter on Kimball north of Diversey. What I don’t know is if they’re related to red lights or red light cameras. ~ Lynn

  4. Carter says:

    Lynn, speaking of longer yellow lights, I’ve noticed that sometime this year the light configuration at Belmont & Clark has changed, so that there is now a brief period where all lights are read.

    I think that is a long overdue safety measure, actually – even though it has been tough as a cyclist to adjust to.

    Carter: With the qualifier “brief,” I guess it’s not an all-way walk as I first thought when I read your comment; that would be nice (I remember 1 or 2 from my days in D.C.). Nonetheless, the all red moment does affect safety in a positive way. ~ Lynn

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