Program for safer streets around schools

Three San Francisco schools in high-density neighborhoods with heavy volumes of traffic will receive pedestrian-safety upgrades as part of the federal Safe Routes to School program.

Jefferson Elementary School in the Sunset district and Gordon J. Lau Elementary School and the San Francisco Chinese Parent Community School in Chinatown have been targeted for improvements because of the high levels of traffic-related collisions that occur in those neighborhoods.

The state Department of Transportation, which administers federal Safe Routes to School funds on a competitive basis each year, recently awarded the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency $1.4 million for the projects. The schools will receive pedestrian-activated flashing crosswalks, countdown signals and curb bulb-outs that force drivers to slow down when turning.

The one- and two-way streets around Lau Elementary on Clay Street between Powell and Stockton streets and the San Francisco Chinese Parent Community School, which together serve about 3,000 students, serve a mixture of pedestrians, vehicles, buses and cable cars. About 77 percent of students walk or bike to school.

Two intersections near the Chinatown schools ranked among The City’s top 100 crossways for pedestrian injuries in the last five years, according to the SFMTA.

Across The City, students at Jefferson Elementary School on Irving Street between 18th and 19th avenues also battle a risky traffic situation. The 19th Avenue corridor remains one of the busiest and most dangerous in San Francisco. Between 2000 and 2005, more than 1,200 people have been injured and 12 people have died along the corridor, according to the Police Department.

The SFMTA plans to construct six bulb-outs to calm traffic around the school, which serves about 475 students.

arocha@examiner.com

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