Traffic camera to nab drivers at Market and Octavia

A camera is being installed this week at Market Street and Octavia Boulevard to start capturing images of cars making illegal right turns onto U.S. Highway 101 starting next month.

Market and Octavia has been the site of several collisions involving cars making the illegal and dangerous right turn from eastbound Market Street onto the freeway on-ramp.

A 2010-2011 traffic collision report released last year showed 13 injury collisions occurred at Market and Octavia in 2011, the most injury collisions at any S.F. intersection in 2011. Nine of those collisions involved cars and bicyclists.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said the automated photo enforcement system will be turned on Nov. 1 in the eastbound part of the intersection.

For the first 30 days of enforcement, right-turning drivers caught on camera will receive a warning notice for the making the illegal right turn. Starting Dec. 1, offenders will be fined $238 and a point will be added to their driver’s license.

The idea of putting a camera at the intersection was first introduced in 2007 by then-Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. Her bill failed.

In 2010, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced his own bill, but was later vetoed by the governor. Ammiano sent the bill to state Attorney General Kamala Harris for her legal opinion. Harris approved the traffic camera December of last year.

The SFMTA already has several measures in place to discourage drivers from making the illegal right turn. In 2011, the transit agency added concrete barriers and extra signage and signals. This year the transit agency upgraded the crosswalks and green painted sharrows with dashed lane markings for bicyclists.

Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement:

“Our agency has acted to implement a variety of safety measures at this intersection over the years, and now thanks to sound legislation spearheaded by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, we now have more of the right tools needed to change driver behavior and protect pedestrian and bicyclist safety.”