School Zone Safety Program
What is a school zone?
A school zone includes designated roadways surrounding and near a school where additional care is needed due to an increase in school-related pedestrian and vehicular traffic. A school zone may extend up to 300 feet from the border of the school property when fully posted with standard school speed limit signs. The school zone includes only areas of active school use. A reduced school zone extends 300 feet in either direction from a marked crosswalk when the crosswalk is fully signed with the standard school speed limit of 20 mph.
Why are school zones being established or extended around Liberty High School, Maywood Middle School and Briarwood Elementary School?
School zones are being extended for these three schools as part of the county’s School Safety Program which aims to improve the safety of students, pedestrians and drivers in or around all schools in unincorporated King County. As part of the School Safety Program, the county is looking to reduce the likelihood of a crash where a greater number of pedestrians and vehicles are present. By driving at a lower speed, the distance required to stop will be shorter if a driver must come to an unexpected stop. In the event there is a crash, the likelihood of a severe injury or fatality is also reduced. Additionally, slower traffic increases the comfort for pedestrians walking in school zones.
What kind of signs are being installed near the three schools?
Signs being installed include:
1. School Advance Warning Signs depict two figures walking side by side. These are typically accompanied by other signs such as the AHEAD signs (Figure 1) and diagonal arrows (Figure 2). These signs let drivers know that they will be entering a school zone or approaching a school zone crosswalk. All signs are reflective and yellow-green in color.
2. School Zone Speed Limit signs (Figure 3) mark the start of a school zone. These signs consist of the word ‘school’, a speed limit, and when the reduced speed limit is enforced. In Figure 3 the asterisk shows where the restriction will go. For these three schools, the reduced speed limit is enforced when the flashing beacons are activated. Figure 4 is an example of an existing school zone speed limit sign with flashing beacons.
3. End School Zone Signs inform drivers that they are leaving the school zone. These signs are placed below a speed limit sign. Figure 5 shows an example of an existing end school zone sign.
How many flashing beacons are being installed?
Table 1 below summarizes how many school zone speed limit signs with flashing beacons exist at each school and how many will be installed.
|Liberty High School||0||6||6|
|Maywood Middle School||2||6||8|
|Briarwood Elementary School||4||2||6|
How will motorists and neighbors be affected by the signs?
By signing all school zones, drivers will know how they are expected to drive when driving through a school zone in King County.
Motorists will be required to drive 20 mph or less when flashing beacons are active, creating safer conditions for pedestrians and other vehicles. Motorists can expect to add a small amount of time to their trips.
The placement of flashing beacons is as non-obtrusive as possible. Flashing beacons are directed towards traffic, and are equipped with visors to mitigate light from entering windows. Where possible, flashing beacons are offset from the edge of the roadway to allow parking and other on-street activities.
How do the signs work?
"School Speed Limit 20 MPH, When Flashing" signs will flash to alert road users of the time periods for which the school speed limit is in effect.
When do they flash?
In the morning, the flashing beacons are activated 30 minutes before school starts to 5 minutes after school has started. In the afternoon, flashing beacons are activated 5 minutes before dismissal to 30 minutes after dismissal.
Are they solar powered?
Around the three schools all flashing beacons will be solar powered. If flashing beacons are not able to obtain an adequate charge, they can be connected to an AC power source.