San Francisco city officials today unveiled a life-sized model of a city block to teach elementary school students about traffic safety with a hands-on approach.
The model was installed at Jean Parker Elementary School in Chinatown, where school and city officials gathered for a ribbon cutting for a new program called Street Smarts. It will travel to different schools and includes two intersections, a traffic signal, bicycle lanes and even a Muni bus.
Second graders from Jean Parker had the chance to walk through the block with guided instruction.
“You see the enjoyment in their faces as they’re learning about safety issues,” said Supervisor Norman Yee.
School district officials also toured the model.
“It is exciting to see a set specifically designed for San Francisco,” said superintendent Vincent Matthews. “Kids will remember this experience.”
After seeing a similar program in Los Angeles in 2014, Supervisor Yee initially teamed up with the late Mayor Ed Lee to bring the project to San Francisco. The San Francisco model is called “Ed’s Neighborhood,” in honor of the mayor who passed away in December.
The project, which cost a quarter million dollars, is part of a city initiative called Vision Zero, which aims to reach zero traffic-related deaths by 2024.
At the unveiling, Supervisor Yee spoke about his own experience in a near fatal traffic collision 11 years ago.
“The pain and suffering that it caused me and my family to experience is something I never want another family to experience," he said.
About a quarter of the city's elementary school students walk to school, compared to 15 percent statewide. And more than half of children hurt in traffic accidents in San Francisco are injured while on foot, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.