$3 Fee to Drive in Downtown SF Could Save Lives, Would Anger Drivers

Pedestrians could be safer if motorists motcharged to drive downtown, 2011 study showed.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014  |  Updated 12:14 PM PDT
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Congestion pricing has been proposed for New York and for San Francisco in the past, but the idea has yet to go anywhere.

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The spate of pedestrian fatalities on San Francisco's streets might bring back an old idea: charging drivers $3 to drive their cars downtown or in other congested areas.

Because, a "little talked-about" study from 2011 showed, such a move could save lives, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Charging motorists $3 to drive in the Market Street corridor and other crowded parts of the city could cut pedestrian-car collisions across the city by 5 percent, a Department of Public Health study showed, and by as much as 9 percent in the crowded "northeast" section of town.

The fee would also generate as much as $60 million a year, the newspaper reported.

21 pedestrians and four cyclists were struck and killed by cars in 2013, the deadliest year for on-street fatalities since 2001, the newspaper reported. Drivers were at fault in two-thirds of these crashes.

Such an idea is still very unpopular: a poll released Tuesday shows 72 percent of respondents opposed. Among those not in favor are Mayor Ed Lee.

A spokesman for the mayor said San Francisco's chief executive supports other, "more effective" safety measures, such as the construction projects that a $500 million bond and increase in the vehicle licensing fee would fund.

Those wil be on the November ballot, the newspaper reported.

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