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Kennedy Expressway

The Kennedy Expressway near Milwaukee Avenue.

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The Rundown: Would a lower speed limit slow down drivers?

Plus, piping plover chicks hatched at Montrose Beach and in Waukegan. Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon, and welcome to another week with a holiday in the middle. Couldn’t we just get a long weekend? Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Would lowering the citywide speed limit actually slow down Chicago drivers?

A City Council committee in May discussed the idea of reducing the default limit from 30 mph to 25, and my colleague Alden Loury analyzed data to see what impact a similar change more than three years ago had on driving habits.

The analysis found Chicagoans are still adjusting. And although the number of violations have steadily fallen, motorists continue to drive fast enough to trigger the automatic speeding ticket far more often now than before the ticketing threshold was lowered.

And high-traffic areas have proven somewhat resistant to slowing down, with several spots consistently remaining leaders in speeding violations.

If Chicago follows New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in lowering its citywide speed limit to 25 mph, driving at 36 mph or higher could result in a $100 fine — not the current $35 ticket.

That’s because in March 2021 the city started ticketing motorists caught by speed cameras for driving at least 6 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. The ticketing threshold had been 11 miles per hour over the limit. [WBEZ]

2. The minimum wage for tipped workers increased starting today

The tipped minimum wage is increasing from $9.48 per hour to $11.02. Wages for tipped workers will rise by 8% each year until 2028 to reach parity with the city’s standard minimum wage, Amy Yee reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Advocates and supporters have been demanding better wages and conditions for workers. But restaurant associations say that federal law already ensures a base minimum wage and laws like Chicago’s ordinance will reduce earnings for tipped workers.

The Illinois Restaurant Association also said restaurants operating on thinner margins post-pandemic will suffer financially if their labor costs are hiked each year. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. The U.S. Supreme Court says former President Donald Trump has some immunity from prosecution

The decision likely ensures that the election interference case against Trump won’t be tried before the election, and then only if he is not reelected, NPR reports.

The 6-3 decision, made along ideological lines, ruled that a former president is entitled to a presumption of immunity for his official acts, but not unofficial acts.

A trial judge will determine which, if any, of Trump’s actions were part of his official duties.

If reelected, Trump could order the Justice Department to drop the charges or he could try to pardon himself. [NPR]

4. Piping plover chicks hatch at Montrose Beach and in Waukegan

Three of the chicks, which belong to plovers Imani and Searocket, hatched yesterday at Montrose Beach days after another trio of plovers hatched in Waukegan. A fourth chick hatched in Chicago this morning, the Sun-Times reports.

“It’s something we’ve been waiting for for the last couple of years,” Matt Igleski, executive director with the Chicago Bird Alliance, told the Sun-Times. “I think it’s a really good, hopeful step forward for piping plovers in the Great Lakes region.”

Imani was hatched at Montrose Beach in 2021, an offspring of the piping plovers Monty and Rose. Searocket, a captive-reared chick, was released at Montrose Beach in July 2023.

Beachgoers were asked to respect closed area boundaries, keep dogs on leashes and take trash with them at the end of their beach visit to help protect the newly hatched chicks. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Yesterday’s Pride parade was as jubilant as ever

Despite a shorter route and fewer floats, the celebration capping off Pride Month was as joyous and vibrant as in years past, Kaitlin Washburn writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Parade organizers shortened the route and cut the number of floats from 200 to 150 out of concerns for safety and limited city resources. Several paradegoers told the Sun-Times they didn’t notice a difference and they would rather have a shorter parade if it meant everyone could stay safe.

Floats represented LGBTQ+ groups like Equality Illinois and the Center on Halsted, local sports teams with their mascots and corporations such as Jewel-Osco and Smirnoff. Mayor Brandon Johnson carried a Pride-themed Chicago flag, and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas twirled a baton.

“People are very happy, very friendly. It’s a party of love,” Carol Burnett, who has been selling merchandise at every Pride Parade for the last 10 years, told the Sun-Times. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Steve Bannon, an ally of former President Donald Trump, surrendered to serve his four-month prison sentence on contempt charges. [AP]
  • Hurricane Beryl made landfall in the Caribbean with 150 mph winds. [NPR]
  • Gymnast Simone Biles will head to her third Olympics this summer. [AP]
  • Cup Noodles announced a new s’mores flavor. [CNN]

Oh, and one more thing …

The ShowPlace Icon movie theater in the South Loop has closed, Block Club reports.

Employees were told about a week ago that yesterday would be the last day of business.

The theater had been inside the Roosevelt Collection Shops for 15 years and was one of the first in the city to offer assigned, recliner seating and VIP options.

It was one of the few movie theaters south of downtown after the closure of Cinema Chatham earlier this year. [Block Club Chicago]

Tell me something good …

From a favorite backyard cookout dish to a prime fireworks viewing spot (or less traditional plans), what’s your favorite way to celebrate the Fourth of July in the Chicago area?

Feel free to email me, and your response may be included in the newsletter this week.

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