These days, fewer and fewer children in San Francisco walk or bike to school, so they're missing an excellent opportunity for daily exercise and group interaction. Attendance at schools outside the children’s neighborhoods partly explains this situation; other significant factors are dangerous traffic conditions and parents’ reasonable fears of letting their kids make their own way to school. But the City, the state and other organizations are working on a range of school safety solutions. See the resources below for more information:
- San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) is responsible for training and overseeing the roughly 139 crossing guards working outside of San Francisco’s numerous public and private schools. If you have any questions or concerns about the program, contact Martha Gamble of the Adult School Crossing Guard Program at (415) 554-9815. The SFMTA does not currently have funding for additional personnel. However, you might ask the principal of your child’s school to get in touch with Ms. Gamble if you feel the lack of a crossing guard creates a safety hazard. In addition, she provides training to interested parent volunteers.
- If you are the parent of a school-age child, you should also be aware of the Safe Routes to School Bill, which provides $20 million annually for the funding of "Safe Routes to School" projects throughout California. As the bill’s name suggests, the initiative aims to encourage children to walk and bike to school by providing the necessary secure routes. Funding is channeled through the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) Office of Local Programs at (916) 653-4727.
- If you would like to organize a program in your own area, you should read the helpful start-up guidelines provided on the Surface Transportation Policy Project’s (STPP) excellent Web site. STPP is “a diverse, nationwide coalition working to ensure safer communities and smarter transportation choices.” You may also call or write to them at: STPP Northern California, 26 O'Farrell Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94108; phone (415) 956-2046; fax (415) 956-7797.