$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.

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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