The main objective of installing school related signage is to increase the safety of children arriving and departing from school. A school advance sign, a reduced speed zone sign and a school crosswalk sign typically indicate designated school crosswalk locations. Reduced speed limit school zone signage also plays a significant role in enhancing traffic safety. All of these safety measures communicate to drivers of the need to reduce their speed and to remain alert when traveling near a school.
Crosswalks located at stop signs and traffic signals are preferred locations for students to cross the road as vehicles are required to stop. Crosswalks at traffic signals are equipped with pedestrian indications that tell the pedestrian when it is time to cross. Under this condition children should be educated and directed to cross when the pedestrian signal displays the WALK symbol. Since the cars that would be crossing the pedestrian’s path should be stopped at the red light.
The City establishes reduced speed school zones in the vicinity of designate school crosswalks to provide a safer crossing area for children walking to and from school. Reduce speed limit school signs may or may not include flashing beacons. School zone signs with flashing beacons are most desirable as they do optimize effectiveness. Locations eligible for flashing beacon installation include all existing reduced speed school zones. Flashing beacons are installed as funding is identified. All new school developments are required to include school zone signs with flashing beacons as part of the design and construction of a new school.
A School Zone Flashing Beacon is a pair of yellow lights that is typically installed with a reduced speed limit school zone sign. The purpose of the flashing beacons is to draw motorists’ attention to the reduced speed limit school zone sign. In the mid-1990’s, the City of San Antonio began installing school zone flashing beacons on the approaches to some school zones. The City continues to increase the number of school zones that are equipped with flashing beacons as funds become available.
Fluorescent yellow-green school signs can also be effective tools for improving driver awareness of school zones. The purpose of the fluorescent yellow-green signage is to draw attention to pedestrian activity related to the school in areas where sign clutter is a problem. According to an FHWA study in 1993, yellow-green signs improved the visibility of the sign message and motorists were able to recognize the sign from a greater distance which made drivers more aware of what was going on around them.
Fluorescent yellow-green signs will be used during routine maintenance of school zone signs, when a zone is upgraded to a flashing beacon assembly, or when a new school zone is established.
The school zone flashing beacons and fluorescent yellow-green signs are helpful in drawing attention to the reduced speed school zones. However, these and other traffic control devices are only as effective as the willingness of drivers to cooperate. Consequently, we urge motorists to comply with the speed limits within school zones.