San Francisco city officials have implemented new 15-mph speed zones around 181 public and private schools in San Francisco.
In an effort to improve pedestrian safety citywide, Mayor Ed Lee teamed up with the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and the nonprofit Walk SF to install 803 new speed limit signs on two-lane streets within 500 feet of the schools.
Elizabeth Stampe, Executive Director of Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy group, said the program was modeled after the town of Goleta in Santa Barbara County, which has implemented the speed reduction zones around four schools.
Stampe said that San Francisco is the largest city to implement the initiative in California.
“It would be very exciting to see this move to other cities and statewide,” Stampe said.
Stampe said that the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods are among the most hazardous areas for pedestrians in the city.
Stampe said the price of the speed reduction program and the manufacturing of the new signs is approximately the same cost as putting up one streetlight.
The cost of the program is covered by Proposition K sales tax revenue and SFMTA operating funds, according to the SFMTA.
Proposition K was passed in 2003 to help finance transportation improvements for the city and county of San Francisco, according to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.
The total cost of the program is $361,700, according to the SFMTA.
In 2010 former Mayor Gavin Newsom signed into action a Pedestrian Safety executive directive that set targets to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities in San Francisco.
SFMTA officials said the implementation of the safer speed zones will help meet the established targets: a 25 percent reduction in serious and fatal pedestrian injuries by 2016 and a 50 percent reduction by 2021.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News