Chiu wants Muni buses to keep their enforcement cameras on
Assemblyman David Chiu may have traded City Hall for the state Capitol, but he’s still got his eyes on the streets of San Francisco.
Chiu will announce Monday that he is sponsoring AB1287 to continue permanently the city’s use of cameras aboard Muni vehicles to issue citations for vehicles stopping or parking in transit-only lanes.
The legislation would also seek to allow camera-issued citations for cars driving in transit-only lanes, “block the box” violations in which cars obstruct intersections and crosswalks, and illegally parked or stopped vehicles in lanes not designated for transit only.
“We all know Muni is too slow when buses are traveling slower than 8 miles per hour on average,” Chiu said. “We have to do something to keep buses from just crawling through our city streets, and we can’t do that with cars blocking transit-only lanes.”
The MTA is clearly counting on continuing that, having equipped its entire fleet of more than 800 buses with enforcement cameras and rolling out a series of so-called “red carpet” transit-only lanes painted red to stand out.
Tickets for vehicles parked in transit-only lanes run $110, said MTA spokesman Paul Rose, while citations for blocking intersections and crosswalks cost $103, and parking or stopping in bus zones costs $279.
“This is not about revenue,” Chiu said. It’s about improving Muni reliability and street safety. The purpose is to remind people they should not be driving or parking in transit-only lanes or blocking intersections.”
The bill has the backing of Mayor Ed Lee, who said reauthorizing the transit-lane enforcement program would “help make Muni, taxis, shuttles, bikes and cars move around the city more smoothly and predictably, and can make the streets safer for everyone, particularly pedestrians.”
Thea Selby, chairwoman of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, also backed the bill, saying the test of transit-only lanes and camera enforcement has worked.
“I can tell you that transit-only lane in my neighborhood has made a huge difference,” said the Haight Street resident. “It has sometimes halved the amount of time it takes to get down the street.”
— Michael Cabanatuan
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