It would appear that the corner of Octavia and Market has become my favorite intersection to write about in San Francisco. Why? Because it is the City’s most dangerous intersection, at least for bicyclists. I am happy to finally report that a red light camera will be installed at Octavia and Market soon, which will hopefully decrease bicycle and pedestrian injuries.
It comes as no surprise that the City has been under pressure to improve the safety of this heavily frequented location, which, since its redesign in 2005, has been the site of over 56 bicycle-automobile crashes with injuries. Unfortunately, it is now three years later and I’m still blogging to the cyclists of San Francisco about this dangerous intersection.
As a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Attorney, I see too often cases where either a City or County or the State fails to make roadway safety a priority. When multiple bicycle injuries happen at the same place, shouldn’t the City be responsible for the harm this dangerous condition of public property is causing? I do recognize that there has been no shortage of attempts to solve the injury-plagued intersection, but shouldn’t the City effectuate a truly effective remedy? As I discussed in my last article, the piecemeal or band-aid approach to reducing bicycle injuries is not apparently working.
Shouldn’t the City instead reduce the traffic congestion at the intersection? With so much chaos in this dangerous intersection, cyclists and motorists alike are certainly distracted.
The City has decided to install a red light camera first so that they can gather data and second to reduce violations by making the red light runners accountable, and third to deter bad driving decisions. This decision comes after years of failed legislative efforts. Attorney General Kamala Harris has finally approved the installation of the red light traffic camera to catch illegal drivers at the corner of Market and Octavia Streets. San Francisco officials have been working to address the problem for years. In 2007, then-assemblywoman Fiona Ma proposed an unsuccessful bill for a camera here. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposed a similar measure three years later, but then-Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger vetoed it.
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum applauds the move:
“We are excited about this long-awaited decision that will make San Francisco’s most dangerous intersection safer.”
I too support this new camera and San Francisco’s innovation as a frontrunner in photo enforcement. I hope that this measure will help to reduce bicycle and pedestrian accidents and that one day the City will redesign this intersection to make it work for all travelers on the road.