The Crusader Newspaper Group

Slow down or this camera in Washington Park will ticket you

The device sits yards away from the pool in the western portion of Washington Park. It has captured on camera nearly 30,000 drivers going over the speed limit.

It’s making millions for the city, but the speed light camera in Washington Park remains a booby trap in the Black neighborhood. An ABC7 Chicago investigation revealed that the speed light camera at 536 E. Morgan Drive in Washington Park issued 22,751 tickets from March to June to drivers 6 to 10 miles over the speed limit, and 5,700 tickets for going 11 or more miles over the speed limit.

Of seven-speed light cameras that produced the highest number of tickets in Chicago, the one in Washington Park had the highest of them all, according to the ABC7 Chicago investigation. A total of 99,732 tickets were given by the seven-speed cameras examined by ABC7 Chicago. The Washington Park camera was one of two South Side speed cameras that were examined. The other one is located at 3200 South Archer Avenue. That camera issued 11,053 tickets within four months, according to the report.

The camera in Washington Park catches speeding drivers in both the eastbound and westbound lanes of Morgan Drive. Just east of the camera is the DuSable Museum of African American History and Culture. To the west is the Washington Park pool that abuts South Martin Luther King Drive.

Historically, Black and Latino residents have struggled to pay speeding tickets that snowball with late fees and additional fines. At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot implemented an amnesty program to help Black and minority drivers, who have historically disproportionally received more traffic tickets than white drivers.

Lightfoot also promised to stop ticketing, booting and fining cars, but a Tribune investigation found that 35,000 tickets were issued anyway during the pandemic. Nearly 16,000 of those tickets were given at expired parking meters downtown. Nearly 14,000 were given outside downtown, the Tribune found. The ABC7 Chicago report also said all of Chicago’s speed cameras issued more than one million tickets between March and June. That’s more than double the 424,000 issued during the same period in 2020, according to the report.

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