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Flashing Beacons Emphasize School Speed Limit on 35th SW

We’ve recently posted several stories about the infrastructure improvements that our Safe Routes to School Program recently completed around our city’s schools.  Today we’ll take a look at another important facet of school safety championed by our Safe Routes Program – school zone speed limit signing.

As drivers it is imperative that we drive the school zone speed limit – 20 miles per hour – whenever we are near schools.  Every school in Seattle is surrounded by signage that clearly demarcates the lower speed limit.  Since 2007, we’ve upgraded these signs at more than 100 public and private schools to ensure that drivers pass these signs on all approaches to our schools.

School Zone Ahead! Advanced Warning Sign

Before entering the zone, drivers pass an advanced warning sign which alerts drivers that they are approaching an area where they should expect to see students. 

The familiar “School – Speed Limit 20 – When Children are Present” signs mark the beginning of the reduced speed zone.  As a refresher, state law defines “When Children are Present” as times when:
(1) School children are occupying or walking within the marked crosswalk,
(2) School children are waiting at the curb or on the shoulder of the roadway and are about to cross the roadway by way of the marked crosswalk, or
(3) School children are present or walking along the roadway, either on the adjacent sidewalk or, in the absence of sidewalks, on the shoulder within the posted school speed limit zone which extends 300 feet in either direction from the marked crosswalk.


New School Zone Signage with Flashing Beacons on 35th Ave SW

SDOT often installs flashing beacons along with the school zone signage on arterial streets to provide further emphasis for the reduced speed limit.  When operating, flashing beacons provide direct guidance to drivers by clearly indicating that the school zone speed limit is in effect.

SDOT recently installed a pair of flashing beacons and new school zone signage along 35th Avenue SW near a pair of schools – West Seattle Elementary and Our Lady of Guadalupe. 35th is a four lane arterial street with a 35 mile per speed limit.  These beacons will help reduce vehicular speeds and enhance safety for students walking to school.