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Mayor, SFPD and SFMTA Boost Traffic Enforcement and Awareness Efforts for Back to School Week

Monday, August 17, 2015

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco Police Department are poised to make children even safer as San Francisco public school students head back to school on Monday, Aug. 17.

“Back to School is an exciting time for our city as we kick off the new academic year for our students, parents and teachers,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “We want to make sure our children are safe when they travel to and from school and everywhere in between in San Francisco. Drivers need to be more aware of traveling at safe and appropriate speeds, especially near schools where children learn and play.”

Working together, the SFPD and the SFMTA, which oversees all ground transportation in the city, have identified 10 schools across San Francisco that are near streets with documented speeding issues. These schools are also proximate to 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.

In support of the city’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024, the SFPD will be enhancing traffic enforcement near the schools for the entire week in addition to its existing traffic enforcement efforts.

“Research shows that children often lack the cognitive and decision making skills to adequately judge the speed and distance of motor vehicles,” said SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. “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.”

Schools that will receive enhanced SFPD enforcement on the week of Aug. 17 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

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 driving to slow down and expect children and families to be on the streets and back at school.

“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,” said Cheryl Brinkman, Vice-Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “Our message is a simple one. School is back in session. Please slow down. You could save a child’s life.”

The SFMTA is also ramping up its School Crossing Guard Program. With Monday being the first day of school for many students, it’s also the first day for 26 new school crossing guards, some of whom will be 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.

“Walking and rolling to school helps children get daily physical activity and come to school focused and ready to learn,” said Walk San Francisco Executive Director, Nicole Ferrara. “However, traffic safety concerns are the top reason why SF parents choose not to walk or roll with their kids. In 2012, we won 15 mph school zones citywide. Enforcing speeding in school zones is key to making sure families feel safe walking and rolling to school.”

The city adopted Vision Zero as a policy in 2014, committing to build better and safer streets, educate the public on traffic safety, enforce traffic laws, and adopt policy changes that save lives. The result of this collaborative, citywide effort will be safer, more livable streets as San Francisco works towards the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024. For more information, go to: www.visionzerosf.org.