From elementary school to senior high, students of every age and grade level should expect to feel safe while walking within a school zone.
The Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Department agrees. In an effort to keep children safer, LTU is establishing new school zone speed limits throughout the Lincoln, NB, area.
Researching school zone safety
In 2016, the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, supported by FedEx, launched a study concerning teen pedestrians between the ages of 12 and 19 and the death rate for members of this group. Although pedestrian deaths have generally decreased over the past two decades, 2015 and 2016 saw the fatality rate rise again. Researchers found that school zones had safety issues including ongoing risks for students crossing the street. The study disclosed the absence of sufficient marked crosswalks, and that only 4 out of 10 school zones were made safer with speed limits of 20mph or less.
Implementing a new speed limit
In December 2020, Lincoln Transportation and Utilities announced that effective December 23, five local schools would see a new 20mph speed limit. The new limit would be in force when a school zone beacon is flashing or whenever children are present. According to LTU, recommendations from a 2018 Lincoln School Zone Study led to the 20mph speed limit change. Over the course of this multi-year project, LTU will evaluate 83 public and private schools in the Lincoln area for speed limit changes.
The 2016 study found that cell phone and texting distractions affected many students walking, as well as motorists driving, through school zones. Taking the issue of distractions into account, the LTU hopes to raise motorist awareness and keep students safer by reducing the school zone speed limits to 20mph.