City leaders, school officials, and community members gathered to celebrate the installation of the City’s first 15 mph school speed limit signs that were installed just outside of Garfield Elementary School on Foothill Boulevard, 22nd Avenue, and 23rd Avenue, all streets on the City’s High Injury Network (HIN). This marks the first of many speed limit lowering efforts underway to address the rising number of traffic deaths and further the Safe Oakland Streets (SOS) initiative, a Citywide initiative to prevent serious and fatal traffic crashes and eliminate crash inequities on Oakland's streets.
OakDOT identified 20 schools for 15 mph speed limit reductions this year, with 10 slated for installation before the 2022-2023 school year begins in August. Schools were selected based on equity-, health-, and safety-driven factors to advance the City’s core values.
Speed limit reductions were prioritized through the City’s SOS initiative because they are effective on their own at reducing speeding and preventing severe and fatal injuries. In addition, speed limit lowering can be even more effective when coupled with engineering measures to reduce speeds and increase visibility. OakDOT continues to deliver both short- and long-term traffic safety improvements at Garfield and other schools throughout the city.
“As not only the Mayor of Oakland, but also a mother, I am proud to stand beside our community leaders as we take action to make our streets safer around our beloved schools,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “No Oakland family should feel unsafe while traveling to and from school, and I’m proud of our OakDOT for taking action to support the safety of our families with effective tools that are proven to reduce harm and save lives.”
"We must do everything we can to protect our future, and our future is the young people of Oakland," said OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. "Far too often, drivers are careless, even reckless, in our city. This modest change to the speed limit around our schools will go a long way to protecting students, families, and staff and everyone who lives and works around our campuses. I thank the City of Oakland for slowing down drivers to protect our school communities."
“School communities in my district such as Garfield and Franklin Elementary have been advocating for years for safety improvements precisely like speed limit reductions, signage, and physical speeding deterrents,” Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas said. “I am so encouraged by this important step forward to increase safety in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. Our children, families and school staff should not have to face daily threats of traffic violence; in fact, our schools should be among the safest places in our communities — spaces of refuge, play, and learning. Thank you to OakDOT for delivering this wide-reaching intervention to so many underserved schools across Oakland.”
“Taking an equity approach to safe streets means that we must use meaningful data to prioritize our investments; the installation of 15 mph school zones is a perfect example of this,” said OakDOT Director Ryan Russo. “We’re making improvements starting with schools that are most impacted by crashes and overlapping inequities to ensure that we’re achieving our goals of eliminating crash inequities, accounting for historic disinvestment in underserved communities, and preventing severe and fatal crashes in the first place.”
Following is the list of the first 10 schools that will receive signage before the start of the 2022-23 school year. Under California Law, 15 MPH zones can be established on streets with no more than two lanes within 500 feet of a school. OakDOT expects to place around 35 speed limit signs through this process. OakDOT will also be placing or updating signs at the ends of school speed limit zones to ensure that they are enforceable and fixing other straightforward signage issues.
- Achieve Academy
- American Indian Public Charter School
- ASCEND Charter School
- Bridges Academy @ Melrose
- Community School for Creative Education
- Garfield Elementary School
- Hoover Elementary
- International Community School/Think College Now (shared campus)
- Lincoln Elementary School
- Martin Luther King Elementary
OakDOT will be complete another group of 10 schools by the end of 2022:
- Acorn Woodland
- East Oakland PRIDE
- EnCompass Academy
- La Escuelita
- Franklin Elementary
- Horace Mann Elementary
- KIPP Bridge Academy
- Lockwood STEAM Academy
- Highland Community School (formerly Rise Community/New Highland)
Installation will continue through 2023 at eligible locations at the remaining approximately 30 OUSD elementary schools. Installing 15 mph school zones involves a detailed inspection of street conditions to ensure that school signs are installed in visible locations that avoid obstacles and meet statewide standards. In some cases, OakDOT will replace existing speed limit signs with 15 MPH speed limit signs, and at others, crews will erect new signs and poles.
Every week, two Oaklanders are killed or severely injured on our streets. Traffic crashes are preventable. Safe Oakland Streets (SOS) is working across departments and building partnerships with the community and partner agencies to implement the most effective and equitable strategies to prevent serious and fatal traffic crashes and eliminate crash inequities on Oakland's streets. Join us: www.staging.oaklandca.gov/sos
 The High Injury Network represents just 6% of Oakland streets where over 60% of severe and fatal crashes concentrate.