2 major ordinances up for vote at City Council: Speed cameras and drag racing


CHICAGO — Speed cameras and drag racing are both on the agenda Wednesday for Chicago’s City Council.

Drag racing and drifting have been issues for years in the City of Chicago. The City Council will step up and vote on an ordinance that would impose new, harsher fines for drifting and drag racing.

It would allow police to use picture and video evidence and camera detection of license plates for cars to track down vehicles used in these even after the fact and impound them. It would mean a $5,000 fine to get that vehicle out of the pound. ‘

One of the hotspots for street racing for a long time was a parking lot at 71st Street and South Pulaski Road. Dozens of tire marks can be seen from people doing donuts and drifting in their cars — usually in the middle of the night.

After one of those gatherings turn into a shootout in May, businesses in the area, as well as police, took more action. They put up concrete barriers and fencing to take away some of the space that was being used.

Officers and Ald. Brendan Reilly (42rd Ward) all say the ordinances needs to be done. 

“With the investments that my colleagues and I have been making in infrastructure for the police, like license plate reading cameras, these cars will pop up as hot — as drag racers — and so using camera systems in good detective work, we can find where these folks are parking these cars and take them, whether they are not,” Reilly said.  “So I do think this will be an effective tool. Our police commanders of told us they’re going to take full advantage of it.”

Reilly is confident that this ordinance will pass City Council and go into effect. Law enforcement officials agree, saying the new law will give officers the ability to crack down more effectively.

“You can see some of the videos where multiple times people been struck by the cars as they’re doing these donuts,” said Police 8th District Commander Bryan Spreyne. “Cars been hit in the parking lot and then when the police come, sometimes, they take off out of the area very recklessly, causing further damage, so every aspect of it is just absolutely dangerous.”

Ald. Anthony Beal will also try again to get his plan to raise the threshold on on city speed cameras from 6 miles per hours over the limit back to 10 miles per hour. He says it’s not really about safety, but about generating money for the city.

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