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City ramps up traffic enforcement as children head back to school

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Police and other city agencies will step up traffic enforcement and safety efforts during the first week of school to project students. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Traffic enforcement will increase at 20 San Francisco schools next week as students return next week, city and education announced leaders Friday.

Instruction at The City’s public schools resumes on Monday, and enforcement will focus on campuses located near high injury corridors, streets where a high number of people have been injured or killed in traffic collisions.

“We know that the key to reducing accidents and fatalities is reducing the speed that cars are travelling,” said Mayor London Breed at a press conference held at Everett Middle School Friday. “We want drivers to drive more safely….and to add an extra bit of security, law enforcement will be out there in full effect making sure that we’re all on our best behavior.”

The back-to-school safety push is a joint effort between the San Francisco Police Department, The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Unified School District and public health and safety agencies that will also include the repainting of 90 crosswalks and the deployment of 187 crossing guards to staff 151 corners at 106 schools citywide.

Some 25 percent of The City’s elementary school students walk to school, according to San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon.

The SFMTA will also provide an afterschool “School Tripper” service to help connect students to regular city bus routes.

Throughout The City, 56,000 students will be returning to schools, along with 10,000 staff members and “anywhere from 75,000-100,000 parents dropping them off and picking them up,” said SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews.

“We want to make sure that all of our people who are associated with our schools in any way, shape or form are kept safe,” he said, adding that safety workers will be added to Daniel Webster Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Gordon J. Lau Elementary and Junipero Serra Elementary schools.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said that children represent about 6 percent of The City’s traffic injuries and about 8 percent of The City’s pedestrian injuries.

“We are pleased to say there is a downward trend in children’s traffic fatalities in San Francisco,” he said, adding that these deaths have decreased from three in 2013 to zero in 2016 and 2017.

Scott said police officers will “conduct ‘back to school’ child pedestrian and bicycle safety operations” during the first week of school and conduct traffic enforcement and education.

“Remember to slow down,” said Scott. “The speed limit in school zones is 15 miles per hour and we will be out to remind you of that.”

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