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Safe Routes to Schools Movement
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is an international movement in more than 40 countries and all 50 states. They provide an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer and more accessible for children, including those with disabilities, and to increase the number of children who chose to walk and bicycle. On a broader level, SRTS programs can enhance children’s health and well-being, ease traffic congestion near schools, improve air quality, and improve community member’s overall quality of life. Safe Routes to School programs share the following components, commonly known as the “5 E’s”: Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation.

Safe Routes to School Sites in SF

The vision of the San Francisco Safe Routes to School Partnerhip is for San Francisco to be a healthy community where students and families safely walk, bike, take transit, and carpool to and from school. Our mission is to advance safe, healthy and equitable transportation to and from school in order to foster livable and sustainable communities for San Francisco students and families.

SRTS launched for the 2009-10 school year at five elementary schools: Bryant (Mission District), George Washington Carver (Bayview), Longfellow (Excelsior), Sunnyside (Sunnyside), and Sunset (Outer Sunset) that collectively serve approximately 1,800 students. In the 2010-2011 school year, we added an additional 10 schools: Buena Vista (Potrero Hill/Mission, El Dorado (Visitation Valley), ER Taylor (Portola), Fairmount (Noe Valley/Bernal Heights), Garfield (North Beach), George Peabody (Inner Richmond), Grattan (Cole Valley), Leonard Flynn (Bernal Heights/Mission), Marshall (Mission), and Ulloa (Outer Sunset).

Shape Up SF secured additional transportation funding in 2011 to continue and expand the program from 2011-2013 with the following schools: George Washington Carver (Bayview), Longfellow (Excelsior), Sunnyside (Sunnyside), and Sunset (Outer Sunset) that collectively serve approximately 1,800 students. In the 2010-2011 school year, we added an additional 10 schools: Buena Vista (Potrero Hill/Mission), El Dorado (Visitation Valley), ER Taylor (Portola), Fairmount (Noe Valley/Bernal Heights), Garfield (North Beach), George Peabody (Inner Richmond), Grattan (Cole Valley), Leonard Flynn (Bernal Heights/Mission), Marshall (Mission), Monroe (Excelsior) and Ulloa (Outer Sunset). In fall 2012, Marshall and Flynn left the program and Alamo (Richmond) and Bessie Carmichael (SOMA) were chosen to become new SRTS sites.

This year, the SF Safe Routes to School Partnership is funded by the SF County Transportation Authority to allow the SRTS program to expand to 35 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools. The majority of the grant will be focused on reaching out to parents and caregivers at participating schools to be SRTS champions promote walking and biking at their school sites.  We will also help organize walking school buses and bike trains, conduct assemblies and bike rodeos at participating schools, host Walk and Roll to School Day and spring celebrations,  and create toolkits informing parents and caregivers of all the different transportation choices available at the school. We are grateful to the SF County Transportation Authority for this opportunity and look forward to implementing the program through 2017!

SF Safe Routes to School Program Goals

  • To increase bicycle, pedestrian, and traffic safety around schools;
  • To decrease traffic congestion around schools;
  • To reduce childhood obesity by increasing number of children walking and biking to school; and
  • To improve air quality, community safety and security, and community involvement around school.

Safe Routes to School goals are achieved through the following strategies:

Education
  • Educate 2nd grade classes on pedestrian safety
  • Educate 4th grade classes on bicycle safety
  • Distribute walk & bike maps for students specific to schools
Encouragement
  • Train and organize walking school buses and bike trains
  • Organize International Walk to School Day events (October 9, 2013)
  • Organize San Francisco Bike to School Week (spring 2014)
Enforcement
  • Conduct traffic enforcement around schools
Engineering
  • Conduct walking audits of school to examine traffic safety needs of streets and sidewalks near schools
Evaluation
  • Collect and analyze how schoolchildren get to and from school
  • Collect and analyze surveys from parents on knowledge and attitudes towards walking and biking

Visit our Partners page for more information about how each our partner organizations play a role in creating SF Safe Routes to School.