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Editorial: Set too low, speed cameras snag hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans in a matter of weeks

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For many Chicagoans, the thrill of the daily mail drop is now tempered by the high probability of a missive, or several missives, from the city’s Department of Finance. Open it up and there’s a demand for cash. Maybe $35. Maybe $100.

And if that letter gets lost for two or three weeks at the bottom of a pile? The amount instantly doubles. It’s 200 bucks, please. Or you’re headed into collection, pal.

ComEd and Peoples Gas charge a mandated modest late fee for a forgotten bill, so as not to take advantage of either a mistake or ongoing fiscal distress; Chicago rapidly socks its citizens with a premium every bit as rough as the fine itself.

When we say “many” Chicagoans are getting these demands, we don’t understate. According to recent Tribune reporting on those notorious speed cameras, a whopping 322,447 citations were issued in the first two months after Mayor Lori Lightfoot had the speed cameras readjusted in March to ding drivers for going even 6 mph over the speed limit. That will be worth $11.3 million in revenue for the city of Chicago, assuming the alleged violators pay up.

We don’t advocate speeding on Chicago’s roads and we’ll even stipulate that the presence of the cameras has made some of us, at least, slow down. But if the cameras are snagging that many otherwise........

© Chicago Tribune

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