CHICAGO — Drivers are speeding more often on Chicago streets amid the pandemic.
During a four-week period in March and April, the city saw a 14 percent increase in speed violations caught on cameras, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
“The health and safety of Chicago residents remains a top priority for the Chicago Department of Transportation, which is why this increase in speeding is a cause for concern as it is a major factor in causing crashes and injuries,” said spokesman Mike Claffey in an email.
While there were 38,444 violations recorded March 24-April 19, 2019, there was an uptick to 44,199 violations March 22-April 17, 2020, Claffey said.
That spike comes even though the city turned off speeding cameras at schools when they closed in March, Claffey said. That means there are fewer cameras being used now than during 2019.
“CDOT reminds the public that they should not be traveling during the stay at home order, unless they are an essential worker or making an essential trip,” Claffey said. “If you must drive somewhere, drive the speed limit, which is 30 mph in most of the city.”
Streets have been noticeably emptier since the stay at home order went into effect in March. Some groups have called on city officials to close a portion of streets to drivers — as has been done in other major cities, like New York — so pedestrians have more room to safely walk or ride bikes.
“We are looking at what the actual experience is of other cities,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Wednesday press conference. “We haven’t ruled it out, but we also haven’t ruled it in. We want to understand what the impacts are gonna be on travel.”
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