School Zone Improvements:
A variety of roadway improvements may be used to enhance the safety or mobility
of children in school zones. The use of well-trained adult crossing guards has
been found to be one of the most effective measures for assisting children in
crossing streets safely.1 Sidewalks or separated walkways and paths are essential
for a safe trip from home to school on foot or by bike. Adult crossing guards
require training and monitoring and should be equipped with a bright and reflective
safety vest and a STOP paddle. Police enforcement in school zones may be needed
in situations where drivers are speeding or not yielding to children in crosswalks.
Other helpful measures include parking prohibitions near intersections and crosswalks
near schools; increased child supervision; and the use of signs and markings,
such as the school advance warning sign (which can be fluorescent yellow/green)
and SPEED LIMIT 25 MPH WHEN FLASHING. Schools should develop "safe routes
to school" plans and work with local agencies to identify and correct problem
areas. Marked crosswalks can help guide children to the best routes to school.
School administrators and parent-teacher organizations need to educate students
and parents about school safety and access to and from school. Education, enforcement,
and well-designed roads must all be in place to encourage motorists to drive
One of the biggest safety hazards around schools is parents or caretakers dropping
off and picking up their children. There are two immediate solutions: (1) there
needs to be a clearly marked area where parents are permitted to drop off and
pick up their children, and (2) drop-off/pick-up regulations must be provided
to parents on the first day of school. Drop-off areas must be located away from
where children on foot cross streets or access the school. Parent drop-off zones
must also be separated from bus drop-off zones. If parents can be trained to
do it right at the start of the school year, they are likely to continue good
behavior throughout the year.
For a longer term solution, it is preferable to create an environment where
children can walk or bicycle safely to school, provided they live within a suitable
distance. One concept that has been successful in some communities is the concept
of a "walking bus," where an adult accompanies children to school,
starting at one location and picking children up along the way. Soon, a fairly
sizeable group of children are walking in a regular formation, two by two, under
the supervision of a responsible adult, who is mindful of street crossings.
The presence of such groups affects drivers behavior, as they tend to
be more watchful of children walking. Parents take turns accompanying the walking
school bus in ways that fit their schedules.
| Safety must be a combined effort between local traffic officials, police,
school officials, parents, and students.
|Costs would depend on the school zone treatment selected. For example, if signs
were chosen, costs might include $50 to $150 per sign plus installation costs.