It was closing in on the end of the school year and Kiarra Hunt was waiting for what had become a daily ritual: a high five from a passing Dad who was ushering his two small children to Van Ness Elementary School. The father was one in a long line of parents, guardians and children that Ms. Hunt, a DDOT school crossing guard (SCG), looked forward to greeting as she safely ferried them across 5th Street SE on their way to school.
Ms. Hunt is one of the many new faces that DDOT has welcomed to the growing ranks of its SCG program. Since it began overseeing the District’s crossing guard program in 2007, the agency has steadily grown its SCG ranks to 265 staff members as of FY 2018, which is more than a 31 percent increase from the number of SCGs that were employed in FY 2017.
DDOT’s SCGs are deployed on weekdays during the morning and afternoon to help students safely cross nearby intersections when they report and are dismissed from school. DDOT prioritizes locations at which SCGs are posted by using the following criteria:
- Crossing Difficulty
- Number of Schools Affected: This factor measures the number of PK-6 schools that would benefit from a SCG being posted at a particular location. More
points are given to locations that would benefit more than one school.
- Distance to Other SCGs: More points are given for locations that are far from existing SCGs.
- Traffic Engineering Factors: This factor measures a number of other elements that affect the safety of a given crossing location. These elements include – but are not limited to – sight distance, the complexity of the intersection and the presence of turning vehicle conflicts.
- Pedestrian Volume: A minimum of 20 student pedestrians and/or bicyclists are required during a one-hour period for DDOT to consider posting a SCG.
- Reported Pedestrian Crash History: This factor takes into account the number of police reported pedestrian crashes that have occurred at the requested location during the last three years.
SCGs are currently stationed at hundreds of public and charter elementary and middle schools around the District, and sometimes at multiple locations around a single school: from three SCGs stationed around LaSalle-Backus Education Campus off of Riggs Road NE to six SCGs around Deal Middle School. To view all of the schools where DDOT has stationed SCGs, please view our interactive map.
Requesting a New School Crossing Guard
Until DDOT achieves Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero goal of reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers, our SCG program has room to grow. With this in mind, we are currently fielding requests for new SCGs. To request a new SCG, please view our “School Crossing Guard Request Instructions” and fill out a “School Crossing Guard Request Form.” Please note that completed request forms must be submitted by the principal of the school that a new SCG is being requested for.
Safe Routes to School
Aside from deploying SCGs to safeguard students as they travel to and from school, DDOT works to improve safety for students who walk or bike to school through its DC Safe Routes to School Program. The program works to:
- Improve safety for students who walk and bicycle to school;
- Encourage students and their parents to walk and bicycle to school; and
- Boost student physical activity, reduce parents’ fuel consumption and reduce pollution and traffic congestion near schools.
To help achieve those goals, DDOT offers Safe Routes to School planning assistance for DC Schools that are interested in improving safety for student walkers and cyclists. For more information about requesting a safety plan for a District school, please visit our Safe Routes to School Program webpage.