After summer break, the first few weeks of September are a transition time as parents, students and the broader community adjust to traffic near schools. School traffic usually occurs on neighborhood streets during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal hours from September to June. This page is a collection of school-related traffic information, tips and projects that help to keep our community safe.
To reinforce reduced speed limits near schools, Bellevue posts school zone signs in locations around the city. The locations are shown on our Routes to School map under the School Speed Zones tab. The speed limit is 20 mph when flashing or when children are present. Please consult the school zone flashing beacon schedule for the 2022-23 school year. Follow the speed limits on these signs and watch for children walking to and from school. Fines are double in school zones. Also, make sure you understand when to stop if school bus flashing lights are on. To improve student safety, a number of buses are equipped with stop paddle cameras. Drivers who illegally pass a bus may be issued a $419 citation.
Parking near schools
During arrival and dismissal time, follow parking laws and the following tips:
- Do not park within 30 feet of a stop sign.
- Do not park within 20 feet of an intersection.
- Do not park within 5 feet of a driveway (see all parking laws).
- Stopping in the middle of the street is not safe and can create unnecessary traffic jams.
- When you wait, consider turning off your engine to reduce noise and greenhouse gas emissions.
Safe traveling tips
Regardless of how you are traveling, please help our students get to school safely.
If you are driving:
- Pay attention while driving. When you’re driving, you can travel the length of a football field during the time it takes to read a text or dial a phone number. Washington State’s distracted driving law prohibits cell phone use while driving, at a stop light or while stuck in traffic.
- Share the road and watch out for kids walking, biking and rolling, especially at intersections, crosswalks, and when entering and exiting school parking lots.
- Adhere to 20 mph speed limits in school zones when school zone beacons are flashing or when children are present. Please consult the school zone flashing beacon schedule for more information.
- If you are commuting, consider alternative routes around schools to avoid traffic congestion during arrival and dismissal time.
- Slow down to a safe speed and provide at least three feet of clearance when passing someone walking, biking or rolling on the road, in the shoulder or in a bike lane. On a road with two lanes in each direction, you must change lanes to pass. See RCW 46.61.110(2) for more information.
If you are walking, biking or rolling:
- Heads up, phone down, eyes on the road.
- Stop, look, and listen at intersections and crosswalks.
- Observe traffic signals and wait until it is safe to cross.
- Wear protective gear such as a helmet and reflective clothing for better visibility.
You can find more educational resources for kids about traffic safety on our PedBee page.
Bellevue SchoolPool program
Bellevue SchoolPool is a collaboration between City of Bellevue, King County Metro and Bellevue School District. This program encourages families and students to explore sustainable transportation options for their commute to and from school in order to alleviate congestion at arrival and dismissal times and zones around schools. You can find an interactive map for walking and biking routes to school, and receive a hard copy of the map by emailing BellevueSchoolPool@bellevuewa.gov.
Walk & Roll to School Day/Week
Bellevue’s annual Walk & Roll to School Day/Week—part of National Walk & Roll to School Day—is Oct. 10-15, 2022. Walk & Roll to School Day is Oct. 12, 2022. In 2021, a record 16 schools in Bellevue participated in Walk to School Day.
To promote pedestrian safety, PedBee—the city’s traffic safety mascot—has a traffic safety card game and activity book available online and at select community centers. Community members who are interested in the activity book can find them at the following locations:
- Bellevue Library
- Crossroads Community Center
- Highland Community Center
- Kelsey Creek Farm
- Lake Hills Library
- Mini City Hall
- Newport Way Library
- Northwest Arts Center
- South Bellevue Community Center
Community members can also contact email@example.com to request a supply of the activity books.
Bellevue’s Vision Zero initiative is an effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious-injury collisions on city streets by 2030. The Vision Zero Strategic Plan outlines how the city will achieve that goal, through annual Vision Zero Action Plans that reflect Bellevue’s commitment to addressing traffic challenges holistically. A key Vision Zero action item is to conduct Road Safety Assessments (RSAs) near schools. In early 2022, the city completed RSAs near Sherwood Forest Elementary School, Interlake High School, Highland Middle School, Sammamish High School, Stevenson Elementary School and Odle Middle School, and is planning to conduct more over the next school year. If you’d like to participate, visit the Road Safety Assessments near Schools page to learn more.
Traffic safety request
If you’re concerned about traffic safety near schools, you can fill out a traffic safety request form. City staff will follow up with you based on your request.