Some San Francisco elementary school students may see new faces on their first day of school today even before they reach the classroom.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has added 45 people to its crossing guard program at San Francisco Unified School District sites. The boost to 195 guards came to fruition with an increase in the agency's budget this fiscal year.
The placement of the new guards depended on criteria that included school collision history, enrollment, vehicular volume and Muni routes presence. The crossing guards are tasked with navigating uncontrolled intersections and those with high traffic and pedestrian volumes, as well as midblock crosswalks.
"As the school year begins, we are doing everything we can to make sure our children are safe when they travel to and from school," Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement. "Having more school crossing guards on our streets will help make our streets safer for our youngest pedestrians, and will help more parents join the growing numbers of San Francisco families choosing to walk, bike or take transit to school safely."
Apart from getting students to school safely, crossing guards teach them how to use the streets safely, added SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin.
The increase in crossing guards dovetails with the transit agency's completion of new 15 mph zones around 181 San Francisco schools last year.
As part of the focus on pedestrian safety on the first day of school, the Police Department will direct traffic patrol operations near elementary schools today and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., targeting enforcement of the 15 mph school zone speed limits.