As part of the City’s Vision Zero plan to create safer streets, nine Sacramento schools soon will see pedestrian-friendly improvements in their surrounding neighborhoods.
The City received $2.2 million in federal dollars to help fund safety upgrades including new curb ramps, high visibility crosswalks and additional bike lanes and buffers for bike lanes at the following schools:
- Aspire Capitol Heights Academy (elementary)
- Father Keith B. Kenny Elementary School
- Natomas High School
- Oak Ridge Elementary
- Hope Public School 7 (K-8)
- Smythe Academy of Arts and Sciences (elementary)
- The Met Sacramento High School
- West Campus High School
- William Land Elementary
The nine schools that will see improvements are among 20 schools highlighted in the City’s Vision Zero School Safety Plan, a targeted effort to improve traffic safety, biking and walking access at schools under the broader Vision Zero program.
When developing the school safety plan “I had the opportunity to visit schools throughout the city and meet students and parents who are not comfortable biking and walking to school because they don’t feel safe doing so,” said Leslie Mancebo, senior transportation planner for the City. “I’m excited to have funding to make these safety improvements for our kids, who are often the most vulnerable traveling on our streets.”
The nine schools were prioritized through an equity process that considered if the school is in a historically disadvantaged community and whether there had been any recent investments or traffic improvements in the area. The Department of Public Works Transportation Planning team also prioritized streets near schools with the highest number of severe injuries and fatalities resulting from traffic crashes.
“This is going to save lives,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said at an Aug. 25 event at Oak Ridge Elementary announcing the funding. “Not just here, but throughout our entire city.”
A robust outreach effort was also used to learn what improvements and changes were needed for each school. Staff worked directly with school employees, students, and parents directly to find out what their chief concerns are on top conducting intensive site visits and traffic observations.
The federal funding for traffic safety around schools was among several community projects championed by Congresswoman Doris Matsui as part of the 2022 fiscal year government funding package.
“It is incredibly important that we do not lose sight of the projects happening on our neighborhood streets, the projects that are so important to people living here,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “That really make an impact on all of us. This is what makes Sacramento, I think, stand out. It makes a difference on a daily basis and we’re making sure that they get the attention they deserve.”
Specific timelines for implementation each school will vary based on several factors, including when the funding is officially transferred over to the city from the federal government and when contractors are chosen through a competitive process. Many of the planned improvements can be constructed quickly once the federally mandated processes are completed.
Since being adopted in 2017, the City has invested more than $20 million in Vision Zero improvements through local funding and competitive grants. In addition to making safety upgrades, the City has also reduced the school speed limit to 15 MPH at 115 schools throughout the city on a total of 225 streets.