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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.

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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 [2] 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 [3] in which a driver injured a man on his bicycle at the busy crossing.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the SF Examiner [4] 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 [5], 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 [6]], 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 [7] 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 [8] and that implementation could get bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.

See photos of the improvements after the break.

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The upgraded crosswalk at Oak and Masonic. Photo: Panhandle Park Stewards [2]