Red light cameras have been installed at dangerous intersections in Chicago. Originally this was a safety issue. Two intersections that were guinea pigs for this experiment were Western and Peterson and Western and 55th. At the time, it was a good idea. People used to cruise through those intersections at 40 mph or more, blowing off red lights, sometimes with tragic results.
Like some other originally good ideas (wait for a future diatribe on permit parking), this one has developed into a cancer. You now find red light cameras at relatively calm intersections and if anyone tells you the object is to save lives you can say “saving lives” is spelled “$aving live$”. The object, friends, is to generate revenue. Can we call a $pade a $pade, plea$e? And dispen$e with the heart$ and flower$? Becau$e the hypocri$y is so thick you need a $word to $la$h through it.
The city revealed its double standard when it installed countdown lights, which, in this blogger’s opinion, do save lives, at various intersections in some of the nicer areas on the north and northwest sides. (There may be some in the loop and on the south and southwest sides as well, but I haven't been down there in a while.) If you know exactly how many seconds you have to get through an intersection, you will time yourself accordingly. When you have a red light camera, you’re more likely to slam on the brakes when you see the light turn yellow. That yellow light lasts for a couple sections, then FLASH, you’re busted. $90 poorer. Not to mention the poor sap behind you who just smashed your rear end with his front.
If the city were really interested in saving lives, it would install countdown lights in addition to red light cameras at the most dangerous intersections. That’s not going to happen. But let’s make it appear like we’re all concerned. The object is to $ave live$.