San Francisco lowers speed limits in 181 school zones

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In an effort to help children have safer walks to and from school, the city of San Francisco will soon lower speed limits for school zones surrounding more than 180 schools around the city to 15 miles per hour during the regular hours of operation. This change will mark the culmination of a yearlong effort by safety advocates. The California state legislature passed a bill in 2008 allowing local jurisdictions to set the speed limits in zones extending up to 500 feet in circumference from area schools that are situated on two way streets. In the city of San Francisco, 181 public and private schools fall under the requirements set forth by this legislation. Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian safety advocacy group has been pushing for the city to lower speed limits in zones surrounding local schools since 2011, in hopes of reducing the danger children face from traffic when walking to and from school. According to a group representative, the group is hopeful that this speed limit lowering will also make conditions safer for all pedestrians in the area, potentially encouraging more San Francisco citizens to walk to their destinations.  Lower speed limits in school zones are part of a larger pedestrian safety initiative launched by the city’s then mayor in 2010.  The program’s goal is to reduce the current rate of severe injury to pedestrians by one quarter by the year 2016 and by half by the year 2021.