San Francisco will install eight new enforcement cameras that could catch motorists jumping stop lights and allow the city to automatically send them a ticket.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board this week renewed a five-year contract that would have expired in August so the city could continue automated enforcement of red-light cameras.
The program already runs cameras at 13 intersections along major thoroughfares such as Market Street and Octavia Boulevard in the Lower Haight or at Fell Street and Masonic Avenue along the Panhandle. With the recent contract renewal, it could now see eight new cameras up and running by late next year.
At Fell and Masonic streets, passersby praised the plan to add another red-light camera.
Bonnie Fisher, who was fueling up a silver Porsche at a nearby Chevron gas station, said she often sees cars run red lights at the intersection north and south along Masonic. The new red-light camera would only monitor northbound traffic for red-light infractions. An existing camera already faces westbound traffic along Fell Street at Masonic Avenue.
“Really it’s both directions,” Fisher said. “I see it all the time.”
Ron Jackson, who has biked through the city for 40 years, said he often sees cars speed up as the light turns yellow in hopes of crossing the intersection before the light turns red—a mad dash that can endanger bikers. While he hasn’t seen it happen at Masonic and Fell streets, he said red-light cameras will curb dangerous driving.
“As a cyclist, I’m very cognizant,” Jackson said. “Drivers don’t take us serious.”
Walking their dog along Masonic Avenue, Peter Lebo and Megan Cable said they often frequent that intersection and that northbound cars often block traffic as they turn onto Fell Street.
“Cars blocking the intersection is definitely a problem,” Cable said.
The eight red-light cameras planned to be installed by the end of 2025 span the city.
In SoMa, where a camera will eventually watch westbound traffic Harrison and Sixth streets, driver Kun Wang said the additional monitoring will make that area safer.
“People run the red light here all the time,” Wang said. “If you get the camera, you can ticket them.”
As he was preparing to walk across the intersection, Maurice Stall said he, too, would welcome a red-light camera because of rampant speeding through red lights.
“It happens a lot,” said Stall, who lives less than a block from the intersection.
The SFMTA board last approved a five-year contract in August 2018 for American Traffic Solutions, Inc. to run the automated enforcement program.
In a consent calendar vote, the board extended that contract to Nov. 6, 2028, and upped the funding range to between $5 million and $10 million.
As previously reported by The Standard, San Francisco red-light cameras from 1996 came back online in 2019 after it was found that the out-of-date film cameras hadn’t been working for months. Since most of the cameras were completed in 2020, they have netted roughly 10,000 tickets a year, according to SFMTA data.
Many were still under construction in 2019, and the camera at Van Ness Avenue and Broadway didn’t go live until June 2022, according to the transit agency.
In a March update to Muni’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to end traffic fatalities in San Francisco, staffers said they planned to seek out contractors to install the cameras sometime next year.
The eight intersections where new red-light cameras will be installed are:
- Westbound Harrison Street at Sixth Street in South of Market
- Northbound Presidio Avenue at Pine Street in Laurel Heights
- Northbound Masonic Avenue at Fell Street
- Southbound Divisadero Street at Oak Street in the Panhandle
- Southbound Gough Street at Oak Street in Hayes Valley
- Eastbound Geary Boulevard at Gough Street
- Eastbound Golden Gate Avenue at Franklin Street in Cathedral Hill
- Northbound Franklin Street at Lombard Street, off the Union Street shopping corridor
Red-light cameras are already at:
- Sixth Street at Bryant Street in South of Market, southbound and eastbound
- Fourth Street at Harrison Street, southbound and westbound in South of Market
- Southbound Sixth Street at Folsom Street in South of Market
- Southbound Eighth Street at Folsom Street in South of Market
- 19th Avenue at Sloat Boulevard in the Outer Sunset, northbound and southbound
- Southbound Park Presidio Boulevard at Lake Street in Lake Street
- Westbound Fell Street at Masonic Avenue in the Panhandle
- Hayes Street at Polk Street in Civic Center, southbound and westbound
- Northbound Divisadero Street at Bush Street in Lower Pacific Heights
- Southbound Van Ness Avenue at Broadway in Pacific Heights
- Eastbound Market Street at Octavia Boulevard in Mint Hill
- Oak Street at Octavia Boulevard in Hayes Valley, eastbound and northbound
- Northbound South Van Ness Ave at 14th Street in the Mission
SFMTA did not respond to requests for comment by press time.