By Arlene Jones
Somewhere sitting in an office within the confines of city government, more than likely, is a very highly compensated worker who is a control freak. If not, then this city has a moron in charge of traffic lights.
Whichever it is, common sense regarding traffic patterns and the ability to get it moving no longer seem to be priorities. Rather, we have traffic lights designed to make a person run a red light, especially around those pesky red-light cameras, or snarl traffic so badly that when they are finally able to drive, the speed camera catches them.
Every week after visiting my grandbaby, I have the pleasure of traveling northbound on Cicero beginning at Midway Airport. Without fail, I can travel at the speed limit and pretty much have a constant green light until Cermak when, if lucks holds out, a CTA Pink Line Train is not crossing. After passing those tracks, it is smooth sailing again until I get to Lexington Street on the south side of the Eisenhower Expressway. Without fail, that light will go red and everyone has to wait. Once green, the light at Flournoy Street, which is the north side of the Eisenhower, goes red. Then after waiting for what seems like an eternity, that light goes green and the average driver, now pissed at having traveled only one block, sees the green light at Harrison and the temptation to gun one's engine and speed on down the street is met with a sudden red light and an obnoxious red-light camera!
Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that's a speed trap for revenue for the coffers of a city that taxes us on everything accept the air we breathe. And if the politicians in charge could do that, they would! Recently the city settled a lawsuit regarding those controversial red-light cameras. Of the $39 million settlement, $12 million will go to debt forgiveness for folks who didn't pay their tickets, while the remaining $27 million will be refunded.
The penalty will refund about half of what people paid in fines. The activist group, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, headed by Mark Wallace, a WVON 1690am radio host, was one of the prime movers and shakers to go after the city in that regard. The group is another reason that the only black-owned radio station in this city should have everybody, but especially black people, listening to it.
With that group's sure and steady advocacy, they were able to accomplish what many had erroneously predicted to be a losing battle. The fight is still on to have those cameras removed and people who are being taxed up their yin-yang need to be at the forefront in demanding that those cameras come down. Although the group meets on the far South Side (they used to have a West Side meeting but lack of interest/support ended that), I am sure if we can get at least 50 people willing to meet here on the West Side, we can convince Mark Wallace to again offer a chapter to his group.
Email me at email@example.com and let me know if you're willing to be part of the advocacy to remove those cameras.
Lastly, I hadn't been traveling to the Eisenhower much, but I see that the left turn signal is again in place at Laramie and Lexington. Why? The majority of traffic comes from the north and needs to make that left turn. It is a dangerous decision to have cars waiting for a turn light needlessly. What criterion was used and what sense does it make? The government that runs this city, county and state is supposed to represent the needs and wants of the people. It is not a fiefdom for those in charge to do what they want simply because they can. I want to advocate for a group called Citizens to Abolish the Needless "Left Turn on Arrow" signal before an innocent motorist is robbed, or worse, while waiting to turn.
For years it was done without a signal. The only reason for it appears to be that a control freak decided it should be so.
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