BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Drivers may have noticed a recent change at more than a dozen school speed zones around Bend -- a shift from a flat 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 20 mph speed limit to ones that use flashing lights to indicate when drivers should slow down, as students arrive or leave for the day.
Here's some information from the city about the change to the new flashing-light signs, most of which are solar-powered (you can see the solar panel atop them):
The City of Bend Transportation and Mobility Department in cooperation with the Police Department are installing flashing beacon school signs to increase driver awareness and improve school zone speed compliance at 14 schools. In these locations, the 20 mph school speed limit will be changing from all day (7 am to 5pm ) to a 45-minute period as students arrive and leave school.
- The schools selected are on higher-volume, higher-speed arterial streets and include Purcell Blvd at Ponderosa Elementary and 9th Street at Bend High School, where the police have historically seen higher incidence of school zone violations.
- It is not uncommon for people pulled over to tell the police that they routinely drive the streets and didn’t mean to speed – they just weren’t paying attention.
- The flashing beacons call additional attention to the school zones and remind people to slow down.
- With the installation of the flashing beacons, the 20 mph school speed limit changes from all day ( 7 am to 5pm) to a 45-minute period in the morning and afternoon as students arrive and depart school.
- Oregon law (ORS 810.243) regulates 7am – 5pm period for the standard sign and limits the flashing beacons to when kids arrive and depart
- The flashing beacons run:
- 30 minutes before school starts to 15 minutes after school starts and
- 15 minutes before school ends to 30 minutes after school ends
- The project includes software to remotely operate the beacons and monitor how they are functioning.
- The City would like to remind drivers to observe the speed limit at all hours, and to watch for and stop for people in crosswalks.
1. Ponderosa Elementary
2. Bend High
3. Bear Creek Elementary
4. Lava Ridge Elementary
5. Sky View Middle
6. Pilot Butte Middle
7. Juniper Elementary
8. Elk Meadow Elementary
9. Miller Elementary
10. Pacific Crest Middle
11. Highland Magnet
12. Mount View High
13. Bend International School
14. Realms Middle School
Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller said drivers should obey the road's general speed limit, and always stop for people in crosswalks or at corners. And when the lights are flashing, you need to drop your speed limit to 20 MPH. Officials also noted that the 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 20 mph speed limit signs are still in place and in force at other schools around the community.