BLOOMINGTON – As the Monroe County Community School Corporation welcomes students back to school on August 4, the City of Bloomington reminds motorists to exercise extra caution in school zones.
The City recently completed a School Zone Enhancement Project to increase driver compliance with the 20-mile-per-hour (mph) speed limit within the city’s 16 school zones. As the 2021-22 school year gets underway, the Bloomington Police Department (BPD) and the City’s school crossing guards will provide increased education and enforcement as necessary within these zones to help improve driver behavior and safety for children and other pedestrians.
In 2020, the City completed a project enhancing all school speed zones in the city (see map of school zone locations and before/after example pictures below). The purpose of a school zone is to reduce the speed of motor vehicles (typically to 20 mph) in certain areas and times due to the likely presence of young pedestrians heading to and from schools. The project focused and clarified the city’s existing school zones, as follows:
- The school zones have been limited to a more immediate area around a school than previously designated and only the school walk route road crossings where pedestrian/motorist interactions occur; and
- The times of day when reduced speeds are required are more clearly indicated by the installation of flashing beacons, whose operation will be limited to short periods in the morning and afternoon when children may be traveling to and from school.
The project replaced static street signs that alerted motorists to the reduced speed limit “When Children Are Present” with signs reading “Speed Limit 20 When Flashing,” along with flashing beacons that are only active during programmed times. With the exception of hard-wired beacons in heavily shaded areas, most of the flashing beacons are solar-powered. Updated signs and flashing beacons, together with the concentration in the physical scope of the school zones, have been designed to clarify where the zones are and when they are in effect in order to improve motorist compliance and enforceability.
“As we look forward to starting another school year, we’re glad to be able to provide safer ways to and from school for our students and everyone who accompanies them,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Starting next week, our school zones will be busier than they’ve been in quite some time, so please pay special attention to the new signs, slow down, and always yield to pedestrians.”