Look out San Francisco drivers, red-light cameras are coming back.
The out-of-date red-light cameras, originally installed in 1996, at 20 San Francisco intersections haven’t been working for months, The Chronicle’s Phil Matier reported in April. Obviously, you shouldn’t have been running red lights anyways, but if you did at one of those intersections over the past five months, you got off scot-free.
Now the city’s most dangerous intersections are undergoing a major upgrade, explains Paul Rose, spokesperson for SFMTA. The agency is installing 19 new cameras at 13 different intersections. All necessary underground work has been completed and the above-ground installation is in full swing at multiple locations.
“Decisions for the placement of red-light cameras are based on public safety, with priority going to the intersections in the city with the highest collision rates,” said Rose.
The first functional, upgraded red-light camera was installed at Fourth and Harrison streets Wednesday (full list at bottom of story). There’s a 30-day grace period required by California law, which means if you’re caught running a red at the intersection you’ll get a warning notice in the mail. But after those 30 days are up, real citations will be issued for any violations caught on camera.
The update has been years in the making, according to Rose. Discussions began back in 2014 when SFMTA knew the contract with the old red-light camera maker was soon expiring.
“Given the age of the cameras, that film cameras and parts were by then obsolete, and that Kodak would soon stop making the film used in the cameras, we knew that the next contract would need to include a redesign of the whole system to upgrade it to modern digital equipment,” said Rose.