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Back to School for SFMTA Crossing Guards

Friday, September 1, 2017

Crossing guard holding stop sign as students and parents cross the street.

School began last week for San Francisco's Unified School District, which is a big day not just for its nearly 60,000 students – it also means the SFMTA’s school crossing guards are back in action.

As students sharpened their pencils and got their backpacks ready, 179 school crossing guards also assembled their school wardrobes – a snappy day-glow yellow vest and ranger hat, neon orange gloves and perhaps the biggest red stop sign a person can comfortably handle. There's also a baseball cap, beanie, rain gear and  of course, the whistle – one of the most important pieces of equipment for keeping students safe.

The primary responsibility of a school crossing guard is to help students cross the street safely while en route to school or home. When there are no children crossing, they may also assist others such as people with physical limitations.

How Crossing Guards Are Assigned

Crossing guards are assigned at intersections where they are needed the most, based on a number of criteria. Like most programs at the SFMTA, the addition of new crossing guards is largely limited by budget constraints, so prioritization is key to make sure we deploy them effectively.

After we receive a request for crossing guards from the public, our traffic engineers and planners conduct traffic surveys to look at many factors.

For a location to be eligible for crossing guard assignments, it must meet four basic criteria:

  • The school must be within a K-8 grade range
  • The requested intersection must have designated school crossing street markings (yellow “ladder” crosswalks)
  • The intersection must regularly see 300 or more vehicles per hour before or after school
  • A minimum of 10 students must regularly cross during a 10-minute period before or after school

To learn more about the program and request a crossing guard, see our Adult School Crossing Guard Program webpage.