San Francisco targets speeders as school starts

Around 65,000 students and teachers head back to school Monday in San Francisco, and city officials are reminding drivers to slow down.

To ensure the safety of students on the street during the first week of school, the San Francisco Police Department will have “enhanced” traffic enforcement at 10 public schools near high-injury corridors, according to SFPD Chief William Scott. He said:

“Our enforcement efforts will focus on behaviors that jeopardize pedestrian and bicycle safety.”

Police officers will look for drivers who are speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, violating bicycle lane restrictions, and other dangerous traffic violations, said Scott.

SFPD has also added an additional 46 speed guns, or LIDARs, as part of its toolkit to go after speeding drivers.

Scott said SFPD saw a 68 percent increase in speeding citations during the last six months citywide.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s School Crossing Guard Program will also play a key role as students return to school on Monday.

Nine new crossing guards have been hired, which expands the program to a total of 179 crossing guards staffing 151 street corners at 107 schools citywide.

Mayor Ed Lee reminded drivers the speed limit near schools is 15 miles per hour, and to not just be aware of the speed limit, but to follow it as well:

“Slow down. Calm down. Beware. Don’t make stupid mistakes.”

SF Unified School District Superintendent Vincent Matthews wanted to make sure parents driving their kids to school on Monday or for the rest of the school year to slow down:

“We want you to drive cautiously. We want you to remember that our students are returning.”

Speed was the main focus of topic at a Friday press conference at Everett Middle School, just as a report from the National Transportation Safety Board looked at ways to reduce speed-related crashes. The report recommended to the seven states that prohibit automated speed enforcement cameras to amend state and local laws to allow agencies to use this as a measure in reducing speeding-related collisions.

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said of the report:

“[The report is] essentially saying the same for the whole country that speed is one of the leading causes of serious and fatal collisions, and there is not enough attention at the federal, state and local level.”

California prohibits the use of automated speed enforcement cameras.

Assemblyman David Chiu introduced legislation earlier this year to pilot a program using automated speed enforcement cameras in San Francisco and San Jose, but the legislation failed in the state transportation committee.

San Francisco officials are hoping the new report from the NTSB will help convince state lawmakers and groups opposing the automated speed enforcement cameras that the devices will help reduce speeding.

Chiu plans to make revisions to this proposed legislation and bring it back next year.

The following schools will receive “enhanced” traffic enforcement during the week of school:

  • Bessie Carmichael Elementary
  • Archbishop Riordan High School
  • KIPP SF Bay Academy
  • Creative Arts Charter School
  • George Washington High School
  • Ecole Notre Dame Des Victoires
  • Edison Charter Academy
  • James Lick Middle School
  • Thurgood Marshall High School
  • West Portal Elementary

Source: SFPD