School Zones are areas near marked school crosswalks installed
adjacent to school grounds. The crosswalks are normally placed where it
is desired for school children to cross at a single location. For
elementary school age students these locations may be monitored by a
crossing guard or school patrol.
Washington law, in regard to driving speed in a designated school
zone, specifies "Speed 20 miles per hour (mph) when children are present."
This reduced speed is in effect 24 hours per day, not just during
crossing hours. In some cases the school crossing area may have speed
beacons (flashers). At these crossings the 20-mph school zone is in
effect anytime these beacons are flashing.
Parking may be removed in the vicinity of school crosswalks to allow
motorists to see children and reduce speed slowly, thus minimizing the
risk of rear end collisions.
The underlying philosophy for school crosswalk planning emphasizes
pedestrian demand. When crosswalks are confined to heavily used
locations, motorists are apt to be more alert when approaching them. If
we were to install crosswalks in little used locations, drivers would
become oblivious to them, and the effectiveness of all crosswalks would
be significantly reduced.