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Back To School in Lynnwood: Speed Enforcement in School Zones

08/20/2009
Lynnwood Police Department news — Children are eight times more likely to die if hit by a motor vehicle moving at 30 mph, compared to vehicles traveling 20 mph, or less. It takes a vehicle going 30 mph twice the distance to stop as a vehicle going 20 mph. The frequency of speeding in school zones suggests that risks in neighborhoods with fewer safety measures are even greater.

Because of this, along with resident complaints and a school zone speed study, the city of Lynnwood is installing speed enforcement cameras in two school zones. One of the speed camera systems will be in the Lynnwood Elementary school zone on 44th Avenue W., and the other at the Meadowdale High, Middle and Elementary school zone on 168th Street SW.

In addition, The Edmonds School District agrees with need for the new speed enforcement technology. Starting on the first day of school, Sept. 8, there will be many more children walking or riding their bikes to school than before because the Edmonds School District will no longer be able to provide bus service to students who live within a one-mile radius of their school. (See Related Article).

Lynnwood has a multifaceted approach to reducing school zone speeding. In addition to the new technology, there will be enhanced enforcement activities from the Lynnwood Police Department, patrols by police volunteers, flashing crosswalk lights, and adult crossing guards from the school district.

During a study of the speeds in the school zones this past October, one example showed there were 222 speeders found going more than 11 miles over the speed limit from 7 to 10 a.m. in just one lane on 168th St. SW. Of these vehicles, 16 were going more than 51 mph and two were going more than 71 mph.

The school zone camera system will be in operation when the crosswalk lights are flashing and only during school times, which are from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days. The system isn’t constantly filming; it only takes photos when there’s a violation.

The speed camera enforcement fines are:

* 6 to 15 MPH over the speed limit - $124 fine

* 16 MPH or more over the speed limit - $250 fine

These fines are like parking citations; they don’t go on your insurance or driving records. These fines are much less than if police give you an infraction for speeding in a school zone.

Get to School on the Safe Side of the Street

As a result of the loss in state funding for schools, the Edmonds School District has been forced to make significant reductions to create a balanced budget for the 2009-10 school year. Many of these reductions are to student transportation because roughly half of those costs are not reimbursed by the state. For this reason, starting the first day of school, Sept. 8, the district will no longer be able to provide bus service to students who live within a one-mile radius of the student’s school, which is recognized by the state as a no-bus-service zone. Because of this, the Lynnwood Police Department and the Edmonds School District would like to offer some pedestrian and bicycle safety tips for your children:

• Before school begins on Sept. 8, walk the routes your children will walk or bike to school to point out potential dangers and safe havens if they need help.

• Teach your children to be wary of strangers and to report any suspicious contacts to a trusted adult or 911. It’s never ok to accept a ride without parent’s permission—even from people who they know.

• Since there is safety in numbers, urge your children to walk or bike with a buddy.

• Insist that your children wear bike helmets and teach them the bicycle rules of the road. (The Lynnwood Recreation Center offers helmets for only $9)

• Make sure your child’s bike is safe; check the brakes, reflectors, and chain guard or take it to a bike shop for a check up.

• Encourage your children to be highly visible by wearing bright, light-colored clothing.

• Urge your children to walk against traffic and ride bikes with the traffic whenever possible.

• Teach your children to cross streets only at marked crosswalks and to watch for turning vehicles. They should make eye contact with drivers before stepping out and look both ways.

• It’s not safe to wear headphones because you may be unable to hear approaching vehicles.

• Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult or older child.

• Teach children to look around parked cars or other objects blocking their view before they cross the street.

We highly encourage parents to work together to form a “Waking School Bus” for their children. A Walking School Bus is a group of children walking to school accompanied by one or more adults.

For more information on Walking School Bus contact the ESD director of transportation Craig Christensen at 425-431-7233. For help in finding the best route to walk or bike call Tracie Chandler at 425-431-1400.

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