SFMTA Completes Implementation of 15-MPH Zones at 181 Schools

Students on Walk to School Day 2010. Photo: Adrienne Johnson/Flickr

San Francisco became the first major city in California to implement all of its planned 15-MPH school zones, the SFMTA announced today. With proper enforcement, the measure promises make the streets surrounding 181 schools safer and more inviting for students and parents walking and biking.

An SFMTA worker installs a 15-MPH school zone sign last August. Photo: Bryan Goebel/Flickr

“This is a big step forward for everyone who walks in San Francisco,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe in a statement. “We applaud the Mayor’s leadership on this, the SFMTA’s quick action to establish the zones, and the Police Department’s commitment to enforcing these new safer speeds.”

The SFMTA began installing 15 MPH speed limit signs at schools in August. Although the agency originally estimated the zones would go in at around 200 private and public K-12 schools, only 181 “are eligible under a 2008 state law which allows the 15-mph zones on two-lane streets for 500 feet around a school,” reads an SFMTA statement. Captain Denis F. O’Leary, head of the SFPD Traffic Company, said police are out enforcing the signs.

“Walking in San Francisco should be inviting and safe for all residents,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, who added that the agency “is committed to working with our city partners to ensure that kids can get to their schools safely. We will continue to seek out comprehensive and innovative street improvements for everyone.”

“Hopefully,” said Stampe, “this will be the first of many cities.”