SFMTA Installs Red Light Camera at Fell and Masonic

Just before Christmas, the SFMTA installed a camera at the corner of Fell and Masonic on the Panhandle to help enforce the left-turn signal frequently violated by drivers.

A driver violates the left-turn signal in front of a bicyclist at Fell and Masonic. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Dale Danley at the Panhandle Park Stewards blog first reported the new automated enforcement mechanism, as well as a crosswalk upgrade at the nearby Oak Street intersection.

The red light camera was installed just days after a December 20 crash in which a driver injured a man on his bicycle at the busy crossing.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the SF Examiner the camera will be activated this month and that fines “will range from $480 to $522, depending on whether the offender takes traffic school.”

According to the SFMTA website, San Francisco was the first city in California to pilot photo enforcement in 1996, and the program resulted in a 40 percent decrease in violations at five intersections after six months. As of 2010 [PDF], 24 intersections in the city were photo-enforced.

The additional enforcement could provide a quick safety boost, but as Bike NoPa writer Michael Helquist pointed out in the Examiner, the number one priority for the neighborhood is the “Boulevard” redesign of Masonic. That project was approved by the SFMTA board of directors in the summer. However, advocates are concerned that Mayor Ed Lee’s commitment to the redesign has waned and that implementation could get bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.

See photos of the improvements after the break.

The upgraded crosswalk at Oak and Masonic. Photo: Panhandle Park Stewards