Thank you for this week’s red-light article [A street paved with gold, News, Jan. 11]. It does a considerable service to the community in sorting out the kernels of public safety truth from the bushels of cynical money grabbing. I would suggest, however, that the Harlem/North and Harlem/Lake cameras should be viewed differently from the Harlem/Cermak cameras.
A great number of pedestrians cross North Avenue on the west side of Harlem. This crossing is difficult at best. If one cannot be confident that traffic turning from eastbound North to southbound Harlem will honor a red light, the crossing is next to impossible. I think River Forest is justified in pointing to pedestrian traffic as a rationale for this camera. Perhaps it would be better, however, to issue tickets only if pedestrians are in the vicinity, similar to the way school-zone rules only apply if there is a student in the vicinity.
I feel similarly but less strongly about Harlem and Lake. The streets are inherently easier to cross but pedestrian traffic is heavy. I never cross Harlem on the south side of Lake — it’s just too dangerous. The north side of Lake is no picnic but it’s doable.
Harlem and Cermak, on the other hand — just a cynical money grab with no safety justification whatsoever. Have you ever seen a pedestrian at the northwest corner of that intersection?