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City approves funding to engineer safer streets near schools

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City officials on Tuesday approved funding for street safety improvements around schools. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority approved $1.1 million in funding on Tuesday to engineer safer streets near San Francisco schools.

From Mission High School to Hillcrest Elementary School, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School and Francisco Middle School, up to 35 schools citywide will soon see streets around them redesigned to be safer.

The members of the Board of Supervisors also sit on the Transportation Authority board. At their meeting on Tuesday, Supervisor Hillary Ronen noted that picking up her own child from school can be hazardous.

“Given such a small and dense city, the pickup and dropoff in front of our schools is crazy,” she said. “This is one of the top issues principals have contacted me about.”

With the funding approved, The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will design new curb markings, pavement paint, street signs and other markings to make the areas around schools safer. The City has identified priority schools most in need of traffic safety treatments through principal requests, 311 complaints and observations by SFMTA crossing guards, according to a report prepared for the transportation authority by the SFMTA.

Work in the program is both “proactive and responsive,” according to the SFMTA report, meaning safer streets will be implemented both where complaints are received and where SFMTA-led “walk audits” let schools and communities themselves proactively identify street safety needs. Historic collision data also will help identify streets that require safety engineering. The safety treatments will also include separate traffic calming measures installed on at least 15 residential streets with school loading zones, according to planning documents.

Planning for the street safety changes is set to begin this year, with construction complete by 2019.

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