SF promises crackdown on traffic violators

San Francisco traffic can sometimes be a nightmare especially when it’s just one or two vehicles causing the traffic congestion, like a double-parked vehicle or vehicles blocking the intersection.

Mayor Ed Lee, along with transit and police officials, wants to ease traffic congestion in The City with a new plan that includes using technology inside the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new Transportation Management Center.

The management center inside 1455 Market St., which opened late last year, will have SFMTA staff monitoring traffic conditions throughout The City.

Lee said the SFMTA and SFPD will coordinate together during rush hour traffic by deploying parking control officers and from the motorcycle division to areas in The City that have some of the worst congestion.

The mayor said he has heard the complaints from San Francisco residents and business owners about traffic congestion throughout The City:

“This is a real issue for San Francisco. It’s an issue because we’re a growing city. We’re a city that’s under a lot of construction these days. We’re also a city where some actors and actresses in their vehicles or in their delivery trucks seem to think that double parking is helpful to themselves yet doesn’t understand the impact.”

Lee said he talked with San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr last week on deploying officers in the motorcycle division to help with enforcement of vehicles blocking the intersection also known as “blocking the box”:

“There will be no tolerance of blocking the box. Those that do are going to face the hefty fines that we already have on our books.”

Suhr said the new center will help get officers to heavily congested areas in The City and try to resolve the congestion:

“This center is going to go a long way for us being able to get in real-time notice from the MTA or DPT to the motorcycles to see if we can find the reason for the congestion if it can be alleviated quickly.”

Suhr said since his talk with the mayor last week, the police department issued over 200 citations to motorists blocking the intersection.

The SFMTA will deploy parking control officers who will focus on double parked vehicles on streets with high Muni ridership and heavy traffic congestion and to also make sure contractors are adhering to their parking permit conditions, said Lee.

Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said the most immediate solution that the transit agency can do is enforcement:

“We want people to get through The City with reasonable ease and importantly we want to make sure people can get through the city safely.”

In the longer term, the SFMTA management center, which is already being used to monitor Muni Metro stations with live camera feeds, will eventually over the next two years also be able to monitor traffic conditions through live cameras.

The center will also connect to the City’s traffic signals to allow engineers to quickly dialogues problems with signals and to better manage traffic during the rush hour or during special events, said Lee.

The SFMTA will eventually also use it’s Twitter feed to send out traffic alerts as it does for Muni delays.

Lee said that motorists not in the gift giving mood should not violate any of the traffic laws or else face the consequences of a fine:

“If you’re not into giving gifts to The City and County of San Francisco then don’t block that box.”