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Published on March 16, 2024
San Francisco Aims to Curb Speeding with New ASE Camera EnforcementSource: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

As the city gears up for an overhaul in speed regulation, San Franciscans might soon notice a new set of eyes on the road—speed cameras intended to clamp down on high-velocity drivers. The Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras, a long-discussed safety measure, are slated to be a game-changer in the city's struggle with street safety, targeting motorists who zip past the legal limit. According to an SFMTA blog post, these digital watchdogs will snap photos of the license plates of lawbreaking speed demons, opening the floodgates to citations raining down on offenders.

Last year's Assembly Bill 645—passed by the California State Legislature—gave the green light to a quintet of cities, including San Francisco, to test-run the ASE program over five years. A team at SFMTA has since dove into the groundwork, identifying key spots for camera deployment to curb the alarming rates of speed-linked accidents and fatalities reported in the city. "Our staff has been gathering data on speeding in the city, selecting camera locations, and meeting with community-based organizations," stated an update on the SFMTA's website.

The criteria for planting these electronic sentries is straight from the legislative playbook—ASE cameras can only perch on streets marked by heavy accident rates, notorious for vehicle races, or encompassing a school zone. The SFMTA has zeroed in on the High-Injury Network, notorious for shouldering most of SF's serious roadway injuries for these installations. Roads owned by the city and, notably, areas frequented by pedestrians, students, or the elderly get the nod, paving the way for more than 70 potential ASE spots.

A rigorous vetting ensued, with SFMTA deploying an arsenal of tools to gauge vehicle speed and heavy foot traffic, narrowing the list to just 33 locales. "These locations are in every corner of the city, in neighborhoods that may look different from one another, but all have vehicles traveling too fast," a line from the SFMTA blog reads. The cameras will keep a watchful vigil on critical junctures around schools, parks, social services, and bustling commercial pockets.

With the SFMTA Board of Directors scheduled for an update on the program come March 19th, there's anticipation in the air. The detailed data the team has compiled will be scoured in earnest, and these proposed ASE nests will undergo further scrutiny before they're enshrined in San Francisco's streets. The SFMTA has assured that once the board signs off, the rest of the plan—picking a camera supplier, hashing out citation logistics, and launching a public information campaign—will follow suit. The aim is an early 2025 rollout.

While the onus is now on the SFMTA Board to give the final nod, drivers should take heed of the changing tides. For more intel on the proposed camera locations and the ASE program, the public's invited to visit the Speed Safety Camera program page.