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San Francisco welcomes the beginning of the new school year with 15 additional crossing guards.

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials announced the new hires at Marina Middle School Friday during a press conference held to remind drivers to slow down as tens of thousands of students prepare to walk, bike or be dropped off at school Monday.

Breed said:

“We’ve had sadly a number of tragedies that have occurred on our city streets and we know unfortunately that has a lot do sometimes with speed. We need to slow down.”

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Mayor London Breed reminds drivers to slow down at a press conference in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 16, 2019.

The City will now be able to provide a total of 190 crossing guards who will cover 154 intersections near 106 school campuses, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Additionally, SFMTA’s Interim Director of Transportation Tom Maguire said the agency restriped 90 crosswalks near school sites and is ready to roll out the “school tripper” after-school supplemental bus service schedule that runs from select campuses. Also returning this year is the Muni Transit Assistance Program, which trains community members to resolve conflicts, prevent vandalism and assist drivers on buses near middle and high schools.

Fourteen-year-old Maureen Loftus spoke during Friday’s press conference and shared the pain she experienced by losing her friend in a traffic incident in March. Madlen Koteva, also 14 years old, was crossing John Muir Drive near Lake Merced when she was struck by a vehicle. She succumbed to her injuries and died 10 days after the crash.

Loftus said The City needs to do more to keep people safe out on the streets:

“Our city has a problem and it is killing people.”

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Maureen Loftus speaks about losing her friend and teammate from a car crash at a press conference in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August, 16, 2019.

City officials report that 15 people have died so far this year while either walking or biking on San Francisco streets.

The mayor had this message for drivers:

“I just want to ask drivers to do better. To stop texting, to stop making phone calls. To stop looking at your phone when you’re driving on our streets. To slow down.”

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