U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram


FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / San Francisco PedSafe Phase II

San Francisco PedSafe Phase II

< Previous Table of Content  

Appendix A: Outreach Assembly Summary and Evaluation

As part of the FHWA PedSafe project, a major outreach program was implemented, encompassing educational presentations and distribution of retro-reflective materials.

The primary audience for the presentation outreach encompassed the residents of communities in the seven PedSafe zones. The goal was to conduct in-person presentations at both schools and senior citizen facilities, providing general safety tips and information about the PedSafe project and other topics related to pedestrian safety.

Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) staff contacted one school and one senior citizen facility in each of the zones. The schools were chosen based on their size, diverse populations, and demonstrated interest in working with DPT on improving safety. The target grades for the school presentation were Kindergarten through 6th grade. The educational message of these presentations varied according to the age level of the students. The senior sites were chosen based on their size, diversity, and opportunities for meetings with high attendance (e.g. senior lunches). The material presented at these sites emphasized the challenges to pedestrian safety for students and seniors walking in these specific areas and presented area-specific safety suggestions.

A Power Point slide show (hard copy available) illustrating different pedestrian safety devices employed throughout the City, as well as presenting simple pedestrian safety tips, such as how to utilize pedestrian countdown signals when crossing a street, or the benefits of pedestrian islands was developed. Safe driving tips were also be incorporated to balance the presentation. If needed, hard copies of the slides were printed and distributed at senior facilities to make the information more accessible. To aid in conveying the message of “be safe be seen,” a grant funded wearable reflective safety devices, such as armbands, belt wraps, and zipper pulls, which were distributed to both students and seniors.

Outreach Approach
The basic approach taken was to contact the sites via phone to either the school principal or senior facility program director, explain the PedSafe project’s goal, and request the opportunity to make a presentation at the site. This one-call approach proved successful for the senior sites, but not for the schools. Easy access to the program directors, who managed the facility’s calendar, led to quick scheduling of presentations. When scheduled, information such as type of room and anticipated number of attendees was gathered. MTA staff followed up each call by sending a confirmation letter and small poster announcing the program. This resulted in senior citizen facilities in five of the seven zones participating.

In regard to the schools, multiple phone calls and letters were employed to schedule these presentations. Calls were initially made to key administrators, principal and/or vice principals. If they did not respond, the next step was to identify those schools that had a health advocate on staff and contact that individual. If this proved unsuccessful, a letter was sent describing the project and presentation, along with information about other school safety projects/partnership opportunities between schools and the city. The letter was followed up with a phone call. Those schools with presentations scheduled received confirmation letters including the name and phone number of an MTA staff person if further information was needed. The results of these efforts led to presentations at schools in five of the seven zones.

Senior Presentations
In total, 220 senior citizens attended the presentations. The number of attendees varied from a low of 20 to a high of 150 per event. The presentations ranged from 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the number of questions asked. While many sites had held, within the past year or two, presentations made on pedestrian safety, they welcomed the opportunity to have the subject presented again. This could be due to the fact that those sites where drop-in services are available do not have a stable client base, whereas others, such as an adult day health center, have the same attendees every day.

The presentations were attended predominately by seniors who were ambulatory, with a small number of attendees who use mobility aids (canes, walkers, wheelchairs). At those sites where the Power Point presentation could not be shown, (lack of wall, screen, or because the presentation was held during lunch), hard copies of the presentation slides were distributed.

The attendees welcomed hearing about recent and proposed improvements in their zones and appreciated the focus on senior citizen pedestrian safety. Questions from attendees varied. Many were concerned with what they perceived of as a lack of enforcement regarding motorists driving while talking on cell phones, while some were concerned about the increase in pedestrian vehicular collisions, and specifically pedestrians who were injured by city /Muni buses. Motorists running Stop signs and disobeying traffic signals were also areas of concerns that were voiced by attendees.

The majority of the attendees were familiar with the bright orange vests that are worn by city service employees, but did not know that they were “reflective.” When informed that all attendees would receive a reflective armband (or other device), the items were not only well received, but there was also a strong tendency for many to request multiple items to be shared with family members. Overall, the silver arms bands were preferred over the orange ones. For those with mobility aids, reflective labels (donated by 3M) were also available and with DPT staff assistance, were placed on the mobility aids of individuals who requested them.

School Presentations
Presentations were made at six San Francisco public schools: three elementary and three middle schools. The presentations ranged from 15 to 25 minutes each, depending on the number of questions asked. While the original goal was to speak with students from Kindergarten through 6th grade, and to conduct small classroom presentations, the overwhelming consensus from four schools that every student needed to hear the message. This resulted in multiple assemblies, either on one day or on multiple days, to accommodate the 7th and 8th graders. As for the other two schools, the middle school held the presentation for the 5th and 6th grades and at the elementary school; attendance was limited to two classrooms of first graders.
The school staff/faculty role on the day of the presentations was primarily to introduce the speaker. In most cases, they addressed the students prior to the talk and spoke about pedestrian behaviors that they observed taking place around their schools. DPT staff was also able to address specific to individual schools by mentioning that they were aware of certain safety behaviors after having consulted the school’s crossing guard. Both proved to be helpful in setting the tone while also gaining the attention of the students.

Graphic materials were also developed to accompany the school presentations. Originally created for classroom presentations of a smaller size, these materials could not be used for the all school assemblies. They were used at the schools in which the talks were held in classrooms and they were quite helpful in illustrating various pedestrian safety devices and while engaging the students in a simple quiz.

To accommodate all of the school assemblies, the slide show created for the senior citizen sites was altered slightly. While the main change was the omission of the safe driving tips, additional slides were omitted based on the age of the students. This change was made after a faculty member reviewed the slide show and suggested that certain slides would be too advanced for the younger students. This resulted in grades six through eight viewing all of the slides, while the presentations for Kindergarten through 5th grade included all but one of the slides. At one elementary school, the presentation was held outside as part of an all-school safety/disaster training assembly. This location did not allow for any visual aids to accompany the presentation.

Overall, the presentations were of more interest to elementary students than to those in the upper grades. The younger students tended to ask more questions than those in the middle schools, particularly those in the 7th and 8th grades. Questions focused mainly on speeding cars; how to stop people from speeding. Questions regarding cell phone usage among motorists and the impact they can have on unsafe driving was also of concern and generated many questions. As for the reflective zipper pulls, they were well received by the younger students, which could be seen in their excitement when informed they all would be receiving one. The older students appeared less convinced that the zipper pulls would be effective when told of their ability to help the students be more visible when walking at night.

Unsuccessful Efforts
As previously mentioned, many attempts were made to schedule the presentations. The two zones where senior citizen facility presentations could not be scheduled might be attributed to our telephone inquiries being met with hesitation and confusion regarding which individual in the organization the call should be forwarded to, or whether pedestrian safety was a subject matter that their attendees would benefit from. There was also an attempt to partner with other groups such as the YMCA and the police department, who have held pedestrian safety meetings/presentations, but this was not successful. A promising potential collaboration with San Francisco General Hospital’s “Think First” program to prevent brain injuries was only a limited success.

At two non-responsive schools, school personnel alluded to their calendars being filled during the months when the presentations were to be made, but when pressed to see if an exception could be made, the request was passed on to another staff person, who never returned the call. Subsequent calls were also unreturned. The letter also failed to generate interest. After speaking with personnel at other schools, it became clear that all school assemblies are scheduled months in advance and access to individual classrooms for such presentations is limited. Invitations were generally acquired as a result of partnering with established programs or with previously scheduled assemblies. For example, one talk was done in conjunction with another group, the San Francisco General Hospital’s “Think First” program to prevent brain injuries.

PedSafe Reflective Devices

Item Purchased Number Purchased Number Distributed Remaining Inventory as of
March 3, 2006
Zipper Pulls
Total 3,000 2,525 395
Clipsters/badge holders
Total 1,250 766 484
Total 750 400 323
Belt Wraps
Total 250 0 250
Total All Items 5,250 3,691* 1,452

There are 107 pieces not accounted for. This is broken down into 80 zipper pulls, and 27 armbands. This is probably a result of either a miscount of items in bags and/or leaving more at a location than originally planned.


Zone/Facility Location Presentation Date Comments/Observation
North Mission
Marshall Elementary
Monica Guzman
230 students attended
1575 15th St. January 26 2006
All school assembly (Outside)
Safety/disaster planning was focus of assembly. Could not use any graphics. Students were mildly engaged. School crossing guards also presented safety tips.
Outer Mission Street
Monroe Elementary
Mark Bolton
470 students attended
260 Madrid February 14, 2006
All school assembly broken down by K-3 and 4-5.
Students were very aware of pedestrian laws. School was recruiting for student safety patrol; folded this effort into presentation. Used two students to model zipper pulls on their jackets. Reflective devices were well received by all students.
Roosevelt Middle (6-8)
Diane Panagotacos
780 students attended
460 Arguello January 26, 2006
Principal requested that all students hear presentations. Separate assembly for each grade levels and held on 3 separate days.
Student attention span decreased as students got older.

Reflective devices well received by 6th graders; lukewarm to no interest with 7th-8th graders.
Geary/Cathedral Hill
KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy (5-6)
Lydia Glassie
131 students (Entire school population 181)
1430 Scott St. January 11, 2006
Presentation made on 2 separate days.
Very attentive student body. Went through entire presentation, including driver tips. They asked good questions.
Chinatown/North Beach
Francisco Middle (6-8)
Rosa Fong
610 students attended
2190 Powell February 1, 2006
All school assembly, broken down by class year.
Student attention span decreased as students’ got older.
Area police officer attended and provided additional safety information.
Spoke to Vice Principal about assistance with mid-block crossing.
Chinatown/North Beach
Spring Valley
Approximately 40 students attended
1451 Jackson October 20, 2005.
The presentation was made to two classes of1st grade studentsin conjunction with the “Think First” program to prevent brain injuries.
The students were avery receptive audience and were active participants in the presentation
South of Market
Bessie Carmichael
375 7th Street
Made numerous calls.
Sent letter and made follow-up call after sent. Never connected with principal or any staff person who would be responsible for scheduling event.

No presentation made

Upper Market
Everett Middle School
450 Church Street Made numerous calls.
Sent letter and made follow-up call after sent. Never connected with principal or any staff person who would be responsible for scheduling event.
No presentation made

Total number of Students attending Presentations: 2,260
Schools part of the San Francisco Unified School District


Zone/Facility Location Number Contact Person Result/ number of attendees Presentation Date
South of Market West
Canon Kip Senior Center
705 Natoma St. 487-3786


Lita 45 attendees
Held in multi-purpose room
Used slides
December 1, 2005
(KW & JG)
Outer Mission Street
Mission Neighborhood
Excelsior Senior Center
4752 Mission @ Ondaga 206-7759 Martha Calderon 20 attendees
Generally the orange armbands were the most popular, though the men tended to pick the green over the orange. Clipsters seemed to be a popular item to attach to bags.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Cathedral Hill

1840 Sutter 931-2287


Steve Ishi 150 attendees
Held in lunch room during lunch
Did not use slides
January 19, 2006


Upper Market Street
Diamond Senior Center
117 Diamond 863-3507 John Yengich

45 attendees
Used slides
Very attentive
Good questions

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Self Help for the Elderly ADHC
408 22nd Street 677-7565 Diane Ngo 45 attendees
Did not use slides
Very attentive
Largest number of attendees using mobility aids.
Monday, February 27, 2006
10:30 AM

Total number attending: 220

No Presentations in Following Zones:

Zone/Facility Location Number Contact Person Results of Contact Attempts
North Mission
Mission Housing
Dev. Corp.
474 Valencia St. 864-4632   Left numerous phone messages. Could not connect at location.
Chinatown/North Beach
Lady Shaw Senior Center
(Self-Help for the Elderly)
1483 Mason 292-2383


Helen Yuen Contacted program director in early January 2006 to schedule event. Made 3 attempts to schedule something.

Last message left 1/25/06

< Previous Table of Content  
Page last modified on February 1, 2013
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000