West Campus High Junior, Michelle Murigi had just finished tutoring students at a nearby elementary school last January when she was struck and killed in a crosswalk at 58th and Fruitridge.
Engineers have started the design phase of the project, which could take 6 months to a year to complete.
Her mother, Mary, says she is pleased work has begun.
"It means a lot, a great, great deal. I am happy today that we are not now talking about Michelle, but we are talking about saving a life."
Mary Murigi held two framed pictures of her daughter at the event announcing the project had begun.
"She was very loving and very kind and very giving and I wouldn't want any other mother to go through what I have gone through," said Mary. "I wouldn't want any other family to lose a child the way I lost Michelle."
Five of Michelle's classmates vigorously campaigned for the lights at the intersection.
The poles, wiring and labor for the project are expected to cost about $400,000. The Sacramento City Unified School District and the city will split the cost. If needed, the city will pick up any cost overruns.
The city says the project should be completed by August of next year.