School Zones Still Confusing Drivers

The in basket: Those who thought that abandoning the “When Children are Present ” activator of a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit in school zones would eliminate all the confusion must be disappointed.
The Road Warrior is getting more questions than ever about how to interpret the signs, so I imagine the traffic officials are too.


The in basket: Those who thought that abandoning the “When Children are Present ” activator of a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit in school zones would eliminate all the confusion must be disappointed.
The Road Warrior is getting more questions than ever about how to interpret the signs, so I imagine the traffic officials are too.
I’ll be addressing some of the questions in future columns, but for now, Connie Burghart of Bremerton suggests taking a cue from something in front of King’s West school on Chico Way.
She says she sometimes forgets to slow down going north but when heading south, she is always reminded by the broad white stop bar associated with the stop signal used only when fire trucks are leaving the station across from the school.
“I wonder if ‘the powers that be’ might consider putting lines to mark the beginning of all school zones or actually put slanted lines through the whole school zone section,” she
said.
The out basket: Jeff Shea, traffic engineer with Kitsap County Public Works, says the use of stop bars is regulated by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a product of the Federal Highway Commission and the bible for highway designers. The manual says the bars are to be used where motorists are required to stop for a stop sign, traffic signal, or some other traffic control device. and not as a visual cue of some hazard.
The other marking Connie suggests would be costly to install and maintain, he said. “We have nearly 60 schools in Kitsap County unincorporated areas, which means a lot of markings on the road to standardize all the school zones.” The striping that is done on centerlines and shoulders has to be reapplied every year, so presumably cross-hatching, other stripes or the painted word “School” at school zones would have to be as well.
He said the amber lights with signs requiring 20 mph when they are flashing are getting better school speed limit compliance, although an apparent disconnect between when they flash and when children really are along the road is one of the complaints I hear a lot and will be the subject of that later column.
He also said the county will be trying out larger signs with larger letters displaying the times the school zone speed limit is in effect at schools that regulate the speed limit that way.

One thought on “School Zones Still Confusing Drivers

  1. I like the sign by King’s West School on Chico Way, but have a suggestion to add “School Days” at the beginning or end.
    Thanks

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