Group of students and parents crossing the street in Chinatown

Photo by SFMTA Photography Department

At the June 25 Transportation Authority Board meeting, board members gave final approval to support the Safe Routes to School Non-Infrastructure program with $466,000 in Prop L half-cent sales tax funds. These local funds match a larger $7 million federal One Bay Area Grant Cycle 3 grant for the program, which delivers educational, encouragement, and experiential activities to decrease single-family driving to San Francisco’s public schools.

The SFMTA’s Safe Routes to School program provides resources, organizational support, and skill-building events and activities that support walking, rolling, carpooling, and taking transit to school, including walking and rolling school buses. A walking or rolling school bus brings together a group of kids who walk a regular route to school with a supervising adult. Kids can join in at any point along the way. It’s like a carpool, but on foot or wheels.

There are many benefits to choosing to walk, bike, or take transit to school. Reducing student car trips reduces congestion in and around school drop-off areas, reducing the risk of vehicle collisions and car-generated pollution in school zones, which is linked to negative health impacts including higher rates of asthma.

Increased physical activity in youth is linked to lower rates of childhood obesity and improved academic performance, with studies showing even single sessions of physical activity produce measurable improvements in memory and focus.

In 2022, the Transportation Authority Board programmed $7,082,400 in federal One Bay Area Grant Cycle 3 funds to the San Francisco Safe Routes to School program from 2022 through 2026. The Prop L half-cent sales tax funds provide the required local match to the federal grant for 2023 through 2025. More information on the SFMTA’s Safe Routes to School program can be found here.