When students at several Bellevue schools head to their first day of classes on Wednesday, Sept. 4, they’ll find the route safer, with the Transportation Department starting to wrap up pedestrian safety improvements.
All of the following projects are at least partially funded by the 2016 Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy:
- Sherwood Forest Elementary and Interlake High School: Six new crosswalks with flashing beacons on streets near the two schools in northeast Bellevue;
- Tyee Middle School: New pathway on 138th Avenue Southeast, traffic calming measures and new school flashing beacons; and
- Newport Heights Elementary: New sidewalk on 119th Avenue Northeast and other pedestrian safety improvements.
In addition, the BellevueSchoolPool program now in its fourth year, facilitates carpooling, biking and walking to school, reducing traffic congestion around schools. It’s a partnership between the district, city, King County and TransManage, the Bellevue Downtown Association’s transportation arm.
Bellevue police remind motorists that when yellow lights are flashing in school speed zones, the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph. In other school zones, the 20-mph limit is in effect when children are present, so be prepared to slow down and watch out for students. Also, remember to stop for school buses when their lights are flashing or the stop paddle is out – or be prepared to pay a substantial fine. The district’s stop paddle camera program helps improve student safety.
The city’s photo enforcement cameras will operate during times that lights are flashing at Odle Middle School, Stevenson Elementary School, Lake Hills Elementary School and Sunset Elementary School.
Here are some safety reminders from the police:
- Slow down in school zones. The stopping distance of a vehicle traveling 30 mph is nearly twice the stopping distance of a vehicle traveling 20 mph.
- Pay attention while driving. Washington’s distracted driving law makes it illegal to use a handheld personal electronic device while driving, even when stopped at a traffic sign or signal or stuck in traffic. Fines are moving violations that are reported to insurance companies.
- Watch for pedestrians when entering a school driveway or turning a corner.
- Stop for children and other pedestrians getting on and off school buses. It’s unlawful to pass a school bus when the red lights are flashing.
- Stop behind the crosswalk at intersections to allow room for pedestrians. Pedestrians should use crosswalks and cross with the crossing sign or light.
- If your kids walk to school, make sure they know the rules of the road and your expectations.