Speed cameras to be implemented in San Francisco soon

San Francisco is preparing to install cameras to catch speeders. Drivers in San Francisco will have to slow down on some of the city's high-injury corridors or risk getting caught on camera. 

Fines will start at $50 for citations and up to $500 for high-speed infractions.

San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency will install 33 new speed cameras next year as part of a five-year pilot program along some of the city's most hazardous streets and avenues. 

"We've used a data-driven process to identify the locations for our speed cameras, said Shannon Hake from SFMTA. "We started with what we call the 'high injury network.' That's the 12% of San Francisco streets that account for 68% of our serious injuries and fatalities."

The cameras will be scattered throughout the city with each district getting at least two cameras.

One of the locations is on Harrison Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets where Bessie Carmichael Middle School is located.

The city says close to 25% of the vehicles traveling this stretch go more than 10 miles above the posted 25-mile-per-hour speed limit. 

"So the way the state law allows us to operate this program is to catch people who are going 11 miles per hour or more over the speed limit," said Hake. "…this is really egregious speeding. This isn't just slightly going over the limit, this is really reckless driving."

Pedestrians say they're happy to hear that traffic may slow down. 

"I think that it's a really good idea," said pedestrian Tova Israel. "Plus there's a school that's, like, a block away, and I think it just makes people more aware of how fast they're going. Because sometimes they might not notice, and then it's too late."

Some who share the road, like motorcyclist Christian Turrini, say they're happy to hear that the cameras will be in place, but he doubts they will be effective.

"People are going to ignore it," said Turrini. "I don't think people are going to pay tickets, I don't think it's going to stop anything, but anything will help."
Some drivers agree they don't think the cameras will slow traffic. 

"Probably not, because I'm not aware of where the traffic cameras are unless my GPS happens to be surfacing them, and even then it's a little tiny icon," said Craig Yappert. "I don't think I'm going to pay much attention to it."

Speed cameras will also be coming to Oakland and San Jose as part of this five-year pilot program. Cameras in those cities could also be up and running as early as next year.

Pedestrian advocacy groups have been pushing for these cameras, and say they're an important step in making the streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and even drivers.