Pinellas parent concerned about lack of school zone signs - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas parent concerned about lack of school zone signs

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A Pinellas parent is worried about the lack of school zone signs. A Pinellas parent is worried about the lack of school zone signs.
The speed limit is 35 mph in front of Seminole Middle School. The speed limit is 35 mph in front of Seminole Middle School.
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - The posted speed limit sign in front of Bauder Elementary school on 86th Avenue is 30 mph and there is no sign designating the area a school zone. This is a big concern to Pete Thibodeau, who has two young daughters who attend school there.

Thibodeau said he has contacted numerous agencies about his safety concerns and hasn't seen any changes, so he contacted 8 on Your Side.

"Is it going to take someone getting seriously injured or killed before something is done about this?" said Thibodeau.

At the busy intersection of 86th Avenue and 131st Street, there are three schools, Seminole High School, Seminole Middle School and Bauder Elementary. The only posted school zone signs are on 131st Street, directly in front of Seminole High.

In comparison, at nearby Oakhurst Elementary, the school zone and 15 mph signs are posted along 137th Street before and after the school property. They include a digital sign that alerts drivers of what speed they are traveling.

After voicing his complaints about the lack of school zone signs to school and elected officials, Thibodeau turned to 8 On Your Side for answers.

We took his concerns to the Pinellas County Traffic Engineering Department. County traffic engineer Tom Washburn said they just conducted a safety review of the area in conjunction with school transportation and sheriff's office officials.

"We are currently evaluating the signing and any improvements we intend to make will be made in the next several weeks, hopefully by the end of April," said Washburn.

So, why weren't there designated school zones already in front of the schools?

Washburn explained that in Pinellas County there are 85 schools in front of major roadways without school zones. Often, zones can be a more dangerous option because they may attract jaywalking as the students assume the cars will slow down. Studies have shown that in some cases funneling students to a crosswalk with a controlled traffic signal is the safest option on busy streets.

As for the busy intersection where there are three schools, Washburn says students can currently use the crosswalk at the intersection of 86th avenue and 131st street in the morning and dismissal times. There is also a crossing guard on duty for the younger students.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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