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Getting Back to School Safely

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It’s that time of year again. Summer is wilting away, and kids are heading into a new school year with a fresh start.

To help them get started on the right foot, we’re partnering with the SFPD to increase safety on San Francisco streets. In support of the city’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024, police officers will be enhancing traffic enforcement near 10 targeted schools for the entire week in addition to existing traffic enforcement efforts.

These schools are also near the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network, where 70 percent of severe and fatal traffic injuries happen on just 12 percent of San Francisco’s streets. Below is a map of the school locations.

The 10 schools include:

  1. Bessie Carmichael Elementary
  2. Archbishop Riordan High School
  3. KIPP SF Bay Academy
  4. Creative Arts Charter School
  5. George Washington High School
  6. Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires
  7. Edison Charter Academy
  8. James Lick Middle School
  9. Thurgood Marshall High School
  10. West Portal Elementary

PD’s Chief Suhr points to the vulnerability of kids to underscore the importance of reducing our speeds, especially around schools. “Research shows that children often lack the cognitive and decision making skills to adequately judge the speed and distance of motor vehicles. As we enforce the speed limit at school zones citywide, we want people driving to think about their responsibilities as they operate a 4,000 pound vehicle around our kids.”

In addition to enforcement, education is also a key component of San Francisco’s Vision Zero initiative.

This year, the SFMTA is using seven large electronic messaging signs around San Francisco to remind people who are driving to slow down and expect children and families to be on the streets and back at school.

Female crossing guard stands in the middle of a wide street while a group of school children crosses in front of her.
A crossing guard guides pedestrians across a busy intersection.

The SFMTA is also ramping up its School Crossing Guard Program. With Monday being the first day of school for many students, it was also the first day for 26 new school crossing guards, some of whom are now staffing crosswalks at new schools and new corners across San Francisco. In total, the SFMTA has grown its School Crossing Guard Program to 193 crossing guards, staffing 187 corners at 95 schools citywide.

Speed is the leading cause of severe and fatal traffic injuries in San Francisco, and motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among young children in the United States. Our message is a simple one. School is back in session. Please slow down. You could save a child’s life.

Map of San Francisco with 10 elementary and high schools marked on it
This map marks the 10 schools that are being targeted in addition to other enforcement efforts. The % over indicated by the color of the streets refers to the frequency of drivers exceeding posted speed limits.