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What’s next with getting speed cameras onto the streets – and what we’re pushing for

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We’re still celebrating the historic win in October when Governor Newsom signed the bill – AB 645 – allowing San Francisco to pilot speed cameras.

AB 645 allows San Francisco to install 33 cameras for the five-year pilot on certain kinds of streets: those with the highest crash rates (“high-injury” streets) or school zones.

I’m sure you’re as eager as we are for cameras to be installed.

Because Walk SF wants these cameras to help bring a big shift in driver behavior, we’re pushing for as strategic of placement as possible, along with a suite of other actions at the same time. Together, we believe these can start to #SlowOurStreets at the scale needed. Here’s the latest.

Where and when will cameras be placed?

The SFMTA team that’s leading speed camera implementation is using a strong data-based approach to determine camera placement. In fact, right now the SFMTA is gathering a range of data to crunch on 60+ streets with serious speed issues, the highest crash rates, and high traffic levels.

The SFMTA is also in the midst of meeting with District Supervisors, racial equity and economic justice organizations, and policy stakeholders like Walk SF for input.

Walk SF brought up with the SFMTA the importance of having the many drivers who don’t live in San Francisco get a clear message upon arrival that San Francisco has speed cameras and to slow down. The SFMTA are looking at this in terms of camera placement, as well as broader signage placement about the presence of speed cameras.

AB 645 states the cameras must be placed in communities that are geographically and socioeconomically diverse. As such, the SFMTA plans to spread the cameras to all parts of the city, with a minimum of two cameras in each of the 11 districts.

The SFMTA will have a proposed list of 33 camera locations by February. This will allow the City to proceed with additional administrative steps and to issue an RFP for camera vendors. The City’s stated goal is to have cameras installed in January 2025.

In fact, San Francisco aims to be the first of the six pilot cities (Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Long Beach are the others) to launch cameras! We’re grateful to the SFMTA for acting fast and with the strong support of City leaders to speed things along for speed cameras.

How 33 cameras can be amplified for broader behavior change

Speed cameras are a powerful and crucial tool to help counteract the epidemic of speeding. We’re thrilled San Francisco can finally use this tool.

But speed cameras are just one tool. The most successful cities layer many tools to deter speeding and better protect pedestrians. Our groundbreaking report last year, Making San Francisco a Safe Speeds City, details the many solutions available here and now – including many that are being underutilized in San Francisco.

Walk SF believes that for the City to get the most out of those 33 speed cameras, it needs to pair cameras with a more comprehensive approach to speed all-around.

That’s why we’re working to:

  • Push the SFMTA to deploy more speed-slowing solutions at scale. Many are severely underutilized despite most being inexpensive, are not sufficiently layered, and have no strategy behind them. Read more.
  • Get the Police Department to direct their limited traffic enforcement capacity on dangerous speed, the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco. Our next step is going to an SFCTA hearing in January where the SFPD will present their response to Supervisor Mandelman’s letter requesting a plan for traffic enforcement.
  • Shape the city’s speed camera education campaign. As part of AB 645, the City is required to do a public education campaign in the 30 days before and after cameras are installed. Walk SF has been invited to be a part of shaping the education campaign, including bringing the stories of people who have been directly affected by speed-related crashes into messaging. We need drivers to understand the high stakes of high speeds.
  • Hold City employees accountable for dangerous speeding. We’re awaiting the latest public report on City employees speeding in City vehicles (the previous one was disturbing). Departments are required to develop correction plans to reduce speeding and collisions, but this has yet to happen.
  • Keep building the #SlowOurStreets movement to push for and win more big, bold solutions like speed cameras. We know so many of us are feeling this issue personally. The more people we get speaking out, the more is possible. Look what happened with so many people, partners, and leaders coming together to pass AB 645!

Are you with us to #SlowOurStreets?

If you’ve read this far, I know you’re with Walk SF in taking on the biggest threat we face: speed.

So please make your year-end donation now so our #SlowOurStreets campaign can go big. Walk SF still has a $80,000 fundraising gap to fill by year-end – and your gift directly supports our advocacy. Donate now to #SlowOurStreets.

Banner image: Emily Huston