BEST PRACTICE FOR TRAFFIC ENGINEERING DEVICES & OPERATIONS IN SCHOOL AREAS

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1 C I T Y O F C O L O R A D O S P R I N G S E N G I N E E R I N G D I V I S I O N T R A F F I C E N G I N E E R I N G T E A M SCHOOL SAFETY PROGRAM POLICY MANUAL BEST PRACTICE FOR TRAFFIC ENGINEERING DEVICES & OPERATIONS IN SCHOOL AREAS 3 0 S O U T H N E V A D A A V E N UE S U I T E C O L O R A D O S P R I N G S, C O Effective August 1, 2009

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 3 General Information 4 Who is Responsible? 5 Policies 7 Signage in School Zones or Areas 8 Portable School Signage 10 School Zone Markings MPH School Zones 13 School Zone Flashing Beacons 15 Radar Speed Signs 17 Pedestrian Actuated School Crossings 18 Traffic Control Signals 20 Traffic Calming Devices for School Crossings 21 Crossing Guards 22 Safety Patrol 24 Pedestrian Walkways 24 Pedestrian Safety Index 27 Safety Education 34 Safe Routes to School 35 The School Safety Program Policy Manual is intended to offer guidance regarding the policies and best practices for Traffic Engineering devices and operations in school zones. 2

3 INTRODUCTION The City of Colorado Springs is committed to provide travel choices for its citizens. The Comprehensive Plan and Intermodal Transportation Plan each include policies that encourage travel in ways other than just cars, including transit, bicycle and pedestrian modes. Schools typically use the widest mix of travel modes in the community. Students walk or bike to school, drive themselves or are transported. As a result, schools bring together large numbers of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, which many younger students may find difficult to safely navigate. School safety is the concern of many different groups. Traffic engineers, city police, school administrators and parents all have responsibilities to make sure that students stay safe as they travel to and from school. Each needs to respond to school safety needs in an effective, coordinated manner. The City of Colorado Springs Traffic Engineering Division has prepared a School Safety Program Policy Manual to assist in that coordination. The goals of the School Safety Program include: 1) articulating the responsibilities of each entity; 2) evaluating conditions that may need safety improvements; 3) applying standards/designs that are consistent, fair and cost-effective; and 4) prioritizing resource expenditures in a way that is fair to all concerned. The City of Colorado Springs School Safety Program is a comprehensive program established to address the need for safety measures for school-children on their way to and from school. The program has been in existence since the 1980 s, while a formal means to fund the program began in Since then, a number of components have been added such as the Crossing Guard Program, the Education Program, and the Flashing Beacon Program. The School Safety Program was formed on the foundation of the 5 E s: Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement, Education and Evaluation. Program staff is responsible for proper set-up and signage of all new and existing school zones and walk routes in city limits according to standards established by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD, ). In addition, staff determines where crossing guards should be placed as well as installation of 20 MPH school zones or flashing beacons. School 3

4 zone speed limits and other violations are enforced by the Colorado Springs Police Department and all designated school zones carry double fines for violators. The educational component of the program is currently being redesigned to create a more userfriendly traffic safety curriculum that will be provided to the city s schools. Currently, there are a number of videos available that were created by The City of Colorado Springs Engineering Division s Traffic Operations staff to address traffic safety for elementary and middle school aged children, as well as a video directed towards parents and their role in safely transporting their children to and from school. In addition, staff has begun work on creating Suggested Route to School (See Figure 7A-1. Typical School Route Plan Map in the MUTCD) plans for each elementary school in the City. GENERAL INFORMATION UNIFORMITY Traffic control in school areas is a highly sensitive subject. Requests such as crossing guards, traffic signals, and signs and markings must be kept in line with sound traffic engineering. Traffic analysis often reveals that many requested school-crossing controls are unnecessary, costly, and lessen the respect for controls that are needed. Effective traffic control can best be obtained through uniform application of realistic policies, practices and guidelines based on sound traffic engineering principles. GUIDELINES The Federal Highway Administration s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) will be the guideline followed by the City of Colorado Springs School Safety Program staff. These guidelines apply to all roadways and pedestrian trails open to public travel regardless of the level of government jurisdiction. The installation of traffic control devices may be required on some private roadways and trails to ensure that the necessary level of pedestrian safety is maintained. Individual situations may require deviation from the MUTCD, with documentation to justify such deviation. All traffic control devices used in school areas shall conform to specifications stated in this manual and applicable sections of the MUTCD, unless an engineering study approved by the City Traffic Engineer, concludes there is a more appropriate solution. The provisions contained in this manual define the use of traffic control devices, but shall not be a legal requirement for their installation. 4

5 ENGINEERING AND TRAFFIC SURVEYS The decision to use particular devices such as mid-block pedestrian signals or flashing beacons at certain locations shall be made on the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. The City of Colorado Springs School Safety Program policy manual provides guidelines for the design and use of traffic control devices in school areas, but is not a substitute for good engineering judgment. MAINTENANCE OF TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES Traffic control devices shall be maintained to ensure that legibility, visibility, and functionality are intact. Devices shall be removed when no longer warranted. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? PARENT RESPONSIBILITY The primary responsibility will be with the parents to ensure that their children are safe when going to or from school. The school will work with the City to develop school routes and teach safety, however, it will be the responsibility of the parents to see that these routes are followed and that children follow all safety practices. In addition to providing suggested walk routes, the City will make traffic safety education available to each school. TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEES Given the number of requests received by School Safety Program staff each year, we recommend that each school district within the City of Colorado Springs establishes a traffic safety committee. Through this committee, staff will be able to effectively and efficiently work with individual schools regarding their concerns for students walking to and from school. In addition, the committee can be involved in routing requests for traffic safety controls to appropriate local agencies, as well as coordinating safety programs and activities between the schools, the community and public agencies. The primary responsibility of school district staff members and/or committees should be to guide and coordinate all activities connected with the school traffic safety program. This includes, but is not limited to: Review and process requests and complaints Identify vehicular and pedestrian safety concerns Gather information and data relating to concerns Develop possible solutions to be discussed among committee members based on information and data collected. 5

6 The school/district traffic safety committee is intended to serve as a communication focal point and to establish a working relationship between the individual schools, districts, and School Safety Program staff. SCHOOL RESPONSIBILITY Traffic related issues about school pedestrians and vehicular traffic on the approaches to the school should be referred to the local school administration for review, and then directed to the appropriate staff person or to the school/district traffic safety committee. Through the committee process, the school may request the appropriate city, county or state agency to consider the installation of traffic control devices. The agency involved shall undertake an engineering and traffic survey to determine whether the request is justified. District administration, principals, designated staff person, or traffic safety committee of every school serving elementary and middle school students should: Develop, cooperatively with local officials, a Suggested Route to School plan showing all streets, school locations and routes to be used by students Instruct students on the proper use of the Suggested Route to School Make field reviews to ensure the Suggested Route to School is being used Make recommendations if needed for parking, bus loading, traffic control devices, and removal of obstructions along the routes or at school site Review the Suggested Route to School annually for any necessary changes. CITY TRAFFIC ENGINEERING RESPONSIBILITY Upon request of the local school district or traffic committee, City Traffic Engineering shall investigate all locations along the Suggested Route to School and recommend appropriate traffic control measures. Other duties include, but are not limited to: Develop, cooperatively with local officials, a Suggested Route to School plan showing all streets, school locations and routes to be used by students. School routes should be planned to use existing traffic control devices even if this requires students to walk longer distances. Factors to consider when determining the feasibility of requiring children to walk longer distances to use the existing traffic control devices are: Availability of adequate sidewalks or off-roadway sidewalk areas to and from the location of the existing control Number of children using the crossing Age levels of all children using the crossing 6

7 Total extra walking distance In addition, program staff assists with review of school site circulation as needed. In general, staff recommends that, at a minimum, sidewalks are installed for sites located on the Suggested Route to School as well as the separation of bus loading zones from student loading zones, and staff and visitor parking on school sites. POLICIES Policies shall be reviewed and updated as necessary. To reduce the risk of a crash at a crossing, adequate gaps must be available. Inherent in the analytical process there are two fundamental assumptions developed from successful past experience: Maximum pedestrian delay at uncontrolled crossings should be no greater than a controlled crossing An adequate crossing gap in traffic should occur randomly, with an average rate of 60 gaps per hour during crossing time The formula for calculating adequate gap time (G) is: G= W (N-1)2 Where W equals the width of the roadway and N equals the number of rows of pedestrians crossing the street. Delay (D) is then calculated as: D= T-t T *100 Where T equals total survey time (in minutes) X 60 sec and t equals total number of adequate gaps in seconds. When gaps are less than 60 per hour, traffic devices should be considered to obtain the proper gaps. Engineering and traffic studies should determine measures to be developed at the school crossing. Types of measures that can be developed are: Installation of warning signs and markings, including portable school area signage Variable speed limits Installation of intersection stop signs 7

8 Flashing yellow beacons to indicate school area or reduced speed zone Installation of traffic signals Removal of visibility obstructions Adult Crossing Guard Traffic calming devices Pedestrian separation structures Pedestrian walkways along the roadway Pedestrian walkways separated from the roadway Parking controls and curb-use zones Bus transportation. SIGNAGE IN SCHOOL ZONES OR AREAS Description Signage in school zones or areas serves to notify motorists of a nearby school. For clarity, a school area is defined as the entire area which includes the school as well as any crosswalks associated with the school. The school area does not necessarily extend to the school boundary as defined by the school district. A school zone is defined as the length of roadway which includes a school crossing as well as a reduced speed. The zone begins at the reduced speed sign and ends at the END SCHOOL ZONE sign. Purpose Enhance the visibility of school crossings where students are traveling. Notify motorists of speed limits in effect or parking restrictions. Street Classification and Use Public roadways identified by School Safety Program staff. 8

9 Portable school area signage will be allowed at school crossing locations determined by School Safety Program staff. Design Standards The design and installation of all signs in school zones or areas shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD Chapter 7B Signs. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of school zone or school area signage. However, when parking restrictions are placed in front of residential property such that residents would have no access to public parking adjacent to their property, residents will be notified of those restrictions. Approval Approval of school zone or area signage installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Principal Traffic Engineer, or the Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration School zone or area signage shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation. For example, relocating or removing a crosswalk, a change in the school s entry/exit procedures or traffic flow, or a change in nearby traffic control. Removal Approval of sign removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Principal Traffic Engineer, or the Senior Traffic Engineer. 9

10 PORTABLE SCHOOL SIGNAGE Description Temporary signage placed daily in school zones or areas, which serves to notify motorists of a nearby school crossing. Purpose Enhance the visibility of school crossings where students are traveling. Street Classification and Use Portable school area signage will be allowed at school crossing locations determined by School Safety Program staff. Design Standards The design and installation of all signs in school zones or areas shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD Chapter 7B Signs. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of portable school area signage. Approval Approval of school zone or area signage installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Principal Traffic Engineer, or the Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration Portable school area signage shall be placed in the roadway at the beginning of each school day and removed for storage at the end of each school day. 10

11 Removal Approval of sign removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Principal Traffic Engineer, or the Senior Traffic Engineer. SCHOOL ZONE MARKINGS Description Markings in school zones or areas serve to notify students of appropriate locations for crossing as well as an alert to motorists of a nearby school or crossing. As a supplement to school zone or area signage, SCHOOL legends shall be placed in the roadway. Purpose Enhance the visibility of school crossings where students are traveling. Street Classification and Use Public roadways identified by School Safety Program staff. Once a Pedestrian Safety Index (PSI) study has been completed, the following criteria will be used to determine when crosswalks will be considered: Elementary o PSI score of at least 25 o A minimum of 10 children crossing during the start and/or release period o Traffic volume between o Crosswalks for the elementary age level are not installed if the 85 th percentile speed is greater than 30 mph, unless the criteria are met to warrant the placement of a 20 MPH zone, flasher, or other type of traffic control. 11

12 Middle o PSI score of at least 30 o A minimum of 15 children crossing during the start and/or release period o Traffic volume between o Crosswalks for the middle school age level are not installed if the 85 th percentile speed is greater than 30 mph, unless the criteria are met to warrant the placement of a 20 MPH zone, flasher, or other type of traffic control. High o PSI score of at least 35 o A minimum of 20 children crossing during the start and/or release period o Traffic volume between o Crosswalks for the high school age level are not installed if the 85 th percentile speed is greater than 40 mph, unless the criteria are met to warrant the placement of other types of traffic control such as stop signs or signals. Crosswalks and stop lines will not be installed on intersection legs controlled by stop signs, except at specific locations on an as-required basis. However, in an effort to maintain walk route continuity, crosswalks may be installed at locations that do not meet the above criteria but are on the Suggested Route to School. Design Standards The design and installation of all markings in school zones or areas shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD Chapter 7C Markings. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of school zone or school area markings. 12

13 Approval Approval of school zone or area marking installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration School zone or area markings shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the markings. Removal Approval of marking removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. 20 MPH SCHOOL ZONES the sign. Description The 20 MPH School Zone serves to notify motorists of reduced speed in effect as indicated on Purpose Enhance visibility of school crossings where elementary and middle school students are crossing. The 20 MPH School Zone serves to notify motorists of speed restrictions in effect. Street Classification and Use A 20 MPH School Zone sign will be considered when the following criteria have been met at the crossing location: o For a crossing serving elementary students, a PSI score of at least 30; for a crossing serving middle school students, a PSI score of at least 35 13

14 o o o o The 85 th percentile speed at the crossing is at least 5 MPH over the posted/unposted speed The street on which the crosswalk is located is a minor collector or lower No other permanent traffic control is in effect for the crossing such as a stop sign or signal The approach visibility is less than the stopping sight distance. Design Standards The design of 20 MPH School Zone signage shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD Section 7B.11 School Speed Limit Assembly. The 20 MPH School Zone signage will include a one-hour time period to cover the morning crossing period and a one-hour time period to cover the afternoon crossing period. The time period when the reduced speed will be in effect will be determined by School Safety Program staff as appropriate for each location and will take into consideration the location of the crossing in relation to the school, as well as any breakfast program at the school. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of 20 MPH School Zone signage. The signs may be placed as needed only after a review of traffic conditions by Traffic Engineering Operations staff. Approval Approval of school zone or area signage installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. 14

15 Duration 20 MPH School Zone signs shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the sign. Removal Approval of sign removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. SCHOOL ZONE FLASHING BEACONS Description 20 MPH School Zone Flashing Beacons notify motorists of reduced speed in effect while flashing as indicated on the sign. Purpose Enhance visibility of school crossings where elementary and middle school students are crossing. The 20 MPH School Zone Flashing Beacons notify motorists of speed restrictions not readily apparent. Street Classification and Use A 20 MPH School Zone Flashing Beacon will be considered when the following criteria have been met at the crossing location: o o o o For a crossing serving elementary students, a PSI score of at least 35; for a crossing serving middle school students, a PSI score of at least 40 The 85 th percentile speed at the crossing is at least 5 MPH over the posted/unposted speed The street on which the crosswalk is located is a major collector or minor arterial No other permanent traffic control is in effect for the crossing such as a stop sign or signal 15

16 o The approach visibility is less than the stopping sight distance. Flashing times will be scheduled by School Safety Program staff as appropriate for each location and will take into consideration the location of the crossing in relation to the school, as well as any breakfast program at the school. Design Standards The design of 20 MPH School Zone Flashing Beacons shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD Section 7B.11 School Speed Limit Assembly. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of 20 MPH School Zone Flashing Beacons. The flashing beacons may be placed as needed only after a review of traffic conditions by Traffic Engineering Operations staff. Private funding for flashing beacons, if necessary, will be accepted for approved locations where the above mentioned criteria are met. Approval Approval of school zone or area signage installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration Flashing beacons shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the sign. Removal Approval of sign removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. 16

17 What should be done with existing school speed zone devices that are not in conformance with this policy? Any existing, nonconforming device can be considered for removal. RADAR SPEED SIGNS Interim Policy for the use of Radar Speed Driver Feedback sign on streets in the City of Colorado Springs is as follows. The Policy shall be reviewed and updated as necessary. The Final policy was implemented in April Description Radar speed driver feedback sign or speed display sign, a 2 digit electronic display changeable message sign that uses radar to detect the speed of an approaching vehicle then instantly display the speed to the driver. Signs also alert motorist with SLOW DOWN message when speed is above 5 mph over programmed level and with alternating red and blue bars when speed is above 10 mph over programmed level. Purpose The Purpose of the Radar Speed Sign is to reduce vehicle speed and vehicle accidents. Street Classification and Use Streets that may be eligible for speed display signs will be Residential, Minor and Major Collectors and Minor and Major Arterials should speed situations exist such as sharp curves, poor sight distance etc. Design Standards The design of speed display signs shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD Section 2B-13, Speed Limit Sign (R2-1). Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of the speed display signs. The signs may be placed for one or both directions of traffic only after a review of traffic conditions to include, but not be limited to, accident analysis, speed survey by radar or passive (tube or Numetrics) device, and site analysis. Private funding for flashing beacons, if necessary, will be accepted for approved locations where the installation criteria are met. 17

18 Approval Approval of sign placement is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing Before and after tests will be required for all installation of the speed display signs to determine the unit s effectiveness. Test shall consist of a minimum of 72 hour tube or Numetrics type speed data and one year accident analysis. Tests shall be performed immediately prior to installation, and then at 6 month intervals. The After tests will be required to determine if device should stay or be removed. Tests shall consist of a minimum of 72 hour tube or Numetrics type speed data and one year accident analysis. Tests shall be performed at 6 month intervals for the first year following removal. Duration Signs shall remain in place for two years or until the effectiveness has dropped below a speed reduction of 3mph, which ever occurs first. Removal Approval of sign removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. PEDESTRIAN ACTUATED SCHOOL CROSSINGS Interim Policy for the use of Pedestrian Actuated School Crossings on streets in the City of Colorado Springs is as follows. The Policy shall be reviewed and updated as necessary. The Final policy was implemented in April Description Pedestrian actuated school crossings alert motorists to a school crossing with a flashing beacon or activated signal once a button has been pushed by a pedestrian who wishes to cross the street. 18

19 Purpose The Purpose of the Pedestrian Actuated School Crossing is to alert motorists to the presence of pedestrians and subsequently reduce vehicle speed. Street Classification and Use Streets that may be eligible for pedestrian actuated school crossings will be Minor and Major Collectors and Minor and Major Arterials should speed situations exist such as sharp curves, poor sight distance etc. Design Standards The design of pedestrian actuated school crossings shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the MUTCD. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of the pedestrian actuated school crossings. The signs/crosswalk may be placed for both directions of traffic only after a review of traffic conditions to include, but not be limited to, accident analysis, speed survey by radar or passive (tube or Numetrics) device, and site analysis. Private funding for flashing beacons, if necessary, will be accepted for approved locations where the installation criteria are met. Approval Approval of sign/crossing placement is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration Signs/crosswalk shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the sign. 19

20 Removal Approval of sign/crosswalk removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNALS Description Highway traffic signals either mid-block or full intersection with pedestrian indications, alternately directed traffic to stop and permit to proceed. Purpose To create gaps in traffic that will allow students to cross to and from school. Street Classification and Use Public roadways identified by School Safety Program staff. Design Standards The design of traffic control signals shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Part 4, Highway Traffic Signals. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of traffic control signals. The traffic control signals may be placed as needed only after a review of traffic conditions by Traffic Engineering Operations staff. Approval Approval of traffic control signal installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. 20

21 Duration Traffic control signals shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the signal. Removal Approval of traffic control signal removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. TRAFFIC CALMING DEVICES FOR SCHOOL CROSSINGS Description Traffic Calming devices require traffic to slow down in order to effectively maneuver the roadway. Purpose To calm, or slow, traffic in areas where students are crossing. Street Classification and Use Any Residential or Minor Collector roadway identified by School Safety Program staff where students are crossing. Design Standards The design of traffic calming devices shall follow the standards set in the latest edition of the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Manual. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of traffic calming devices. The traffic calming devices may be placed as needed only after a review of traffic conditions by Traffic Engineering Operations staff. In cases where substantial impact to surrounding community is necessary, public will be notified and invited to submit comments or concerns. 21

22 Approval Approval of traffic calming device installation is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing Before and after tests will be required for all installation of traffic calming devices to determine the unit s effectiveness. Test shall consist of a minimum of 72 hour tube or Numetrics type speed data and one year accident analysis. Tests shall be performed immediately prior to installation, and then at 6 month intervals. The After tests will be required to determine if device should stay or be removed. Tests shall consist of a minimum of 72 hour tube or Numetrics type speed data and one year accident analysis. Tests shall be performed at 6 month intervals for the first year following removal. Duration Traffic calming devices shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the device. In many cases, traffic calming devices are permanent. Removal Approval of traffic calming device removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. CROSSING GUARDS Description A trained adult hired by the school district to assist elementary students in crossing the roadway. Each year, City staff offers training for crossing guard trainers for each school district. School districts will be given either authorization or permission to place a crossing guard in the public roadway. Locations that have been authorized have reached a Pedestrian Safety Index score of 40 or more and are paid by the City to the appropriate school district as established by an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). Once a location has been authorized, the school and/or district determine whether 22

23 to place the guard at that location or not. If the district chooses not to place a guard at the authorized location, the city will not make a payment for this location. Locations where the school district has been given permission to place a guard do not meet the requirements as determined by the PSI, and, therefore, the school district does not receive payment from the City. Purpose Provide a train Crossing Guard to assist elementary students crossing the roadway. Street Classification and Use Public roadway identified by School Safety Program staff where students are crossing. Design Standards Not applicable. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of crossing guards. Each year, School Safety Program staff reviews each school district s IGA to determine whether any changes need to be made. Upon review, staff will meet with the school districts to finalize the IGA for the upcoming school year. Approval Approval of crossing guard placement is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration Crossing guards shall remain in place until the conditions change sufficient enough to warrant removal or relocation of the guard. 23

24 Removal Approval of crossing guard removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. SAFETY PATROL An optional tool that schools may use is the Safety Patrol. Students participating in the Safety Patrol program assist Crossing Guards in maintaining organization of the students wishing to cross the roadway. The Institute of Transportation Engineers recommends that the Safety Patrol remains strictly on the sidewalk. These students do not have the authority to help the children cross the street. Rather, the Safety Patrol serves to assist the Crossing Guard in keeping students away from the curb while waiting to cross the street. Students serving as Safety Patrol members are also strongly urged to receive training on their role and responsibilities and should be supervised by school staff. PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS Description Pedestrian Walkways are areas where students walk adjacent or along the roadway, including sidewalks and walk paths. Where students walk on the roadway, a shoulder width of 6 feet is desirable along both sides so that students can face oncoming traffic. Where a pedestrian walkway (sidewalk) is provided, a width of 5 feet is desirable and the sidewalk should also be physically separated from the roadway. In locations where there is a specified loading zone, a width of 8 feet of sidewalk is desirable and should also be attached to the roadway. While sidewalk is preferred on both sides of the roadway, there may be instances in which sidewalk will be allowed only on one side. Purpose Pedestrian Walkways provide appropriate walkways for all students walking to and from school. walking. Street Classification and Use Public roadway/right-of-way identified by School Safety Program staff where students are 24

25 Design Standards See Description. Public Support No formal public process is necessary for the placement of pedestrian walkways. Approval Approval of pedestrian walkway placement is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Testing No testing is required. Duration Pedestrian walkways shall remain in place and maintained. Removal Approval of pedestrian walkway removal is required from the City Traffic Engineer, the Traffic Operations/Engineering Principal Traffic Engineer, or the area Senior Traffic Engineer. Criteria for Use of Pedestrian Walkways A pedestrian walkway should be considered when ALL of the following conditions are fulfilled: The roadway lies on the Suggested Route to School plan, Existing road shoulders outside of the traveled roadway are less than 6 feet wide, More than 20 student pedestrians use the route while walking to and from school AND vehicular traffic exceeds 100 vehicles per hour during the school day, The governing board of the school district officially requests the pedestrian walkway improvements, 25

26 In cases where revision of the Suggested Route to School is plan or modifying the attendance boundaries does not eliminate the conflict. Grade-Separated Crossings Grade-separated crossings may be used to physically separate the student pedestrians from vehicular traffic. While they eliminate the vehicle-pedestrian conflict, grade-separated crossings such as overpasses or underpasses are limited to select locations where the benefits clearly outweigh the public investment. Grade-separated crossings are supplemental devices for reducing pedestrian crashes and are not traffic control devices. Criteria for Use of Grade-Separated Crossings Grade-separated crossings should be considered when the physical characteristics of the location make such a structure feasible. Grade separations should be considered when ALL of the following conditions are fulfilled: Prevailing conditions that require a school pedestrian crossing must be of sufficient duration to justify the grade-separated crossing structure, The location shall be on the Suggested Route to School plan, The location shall be at an uncontrolled intersection or mid-block along an expressway or highway where the traffic conditions make it very difficult for pedestrians to cross, Revision of the Suggested Route to School plan or the attendance boundaries to eliminate the conflict are not feasible, Physical conditions make a grade-separated crossing structure feasible from an engineering perspective, Adjacent controlled school pedestrian crossings are more than 590 ft from the proposed structure and would require total out-of-direction walking distance of at least 1180 ft, 26

27 Bus transportation, traffic signals, adult crossing guards or other means of resolving the school pedestrian-vehicular conflicts are not feasible. PEDESTRIAN SAFETY INDEX (PSI) The pedestrian safety index (PSI) was developed jointly by the City of Colorado Springs and the five School Districts located in city limits to provide a more reliable means of assessing the safety of school crosswalks in the Colorado Springs area. It comprises of standard criteria which are used to evaluate and prioritize crosswalks and their need for crossing guards. There are approximately 1100 designated or marked school crosswalk locations within the City limits. These locations are evaluated on an annual basis to assess their PSI ratings and to determine if crossing guards should be added. The total number of crosswalk locations evaluated each year fluctuates based on additional requests from the school districts or modification to the existing school routes. Based on nationally accepted pedestrian safety guidelines and both local and state practices, twelve individual categories are considered in determining the PSI rating. A crosswalk is evaluated in each category with a point value and the total score is a reflection of the pedestrian safety at the crosswalk. Crosswalks that score 40 or more points in the evaluation process are authorized for crossing guard posting. The categories used to assess the PSI rating are as follows: 27

28 Width of Roadway This category refers to the actual pedestrian crossing distance rounded to the nearest one foot increment and is measured from curb to curb. Do not use the typical residential, collector or arterial standard cross-sections as the turning radius can cause a significant variation in the actual crossing distance. Width (ft) Points Over Number of Through Traffic Lanes Lanes that are designated for through movement of traffic only are included in this category. Turning lanes such as exclusive rights or left-turn bays are not to be included in this category. Generally, pavement markings or signs will show proper lane assignments. Lanes Points

29 Number of Turning Traffic Lanes This category refers to the number of turning movements through any single crosswalk. Shared lanes where both turns (right and left) are made from the same lane are counted as one turning movement. Turning Lanes Points Existing Traffic Control Devices This category includes traffic control located at the point of crossing that has a direct bearing on the crossing situation. For example, if children are crossing north-south and the control device regulates traffic east-west, the number of points assigned to this category will represent an uncontrolled condition. Type of Traffic Control Points Mid-block pedestrian signal with push-button and pedestrian indications 0 Intersection signal with push-buttons and pedestrian indications 1 All-way stop sign control 2 Intersection signal (pre-timed) with pedestrian indications and without pushbuttons 3 Intersection signal with push-buttons and without pedestrian indications 4 Intersection signal (pre-timed) without pedestrian indications 5 Main street stop sign control 6 29

30 Minor street stop sign control 7 Intersection signal (actuated) without push-buttons and without pedestrian 8 indications Yield sign control 10 Marked crosswalk with school signs 11 School signs only/no Control 13 Traffic Volumes Traffic Volumes are counted in both directions in a thirty-minute interval for the hour. For each table where values vary depending on the time of day, the highest recorded value of the 0800, 0900, 1500, and 1600 hours should be used to accommodate the peak pedestrian usage. Volume Points

31 Vehicular Speed The eighty-fifth percentile speed recorded during the school operation hours at approximately two hundred feet from the crossing. Actual posting of the speed limit shall not be used as the speeds vary significantly from location to location based on roadway geometry and type of traffic control. Field evaluation through radar studies or traffic counting equipment shall be used for the purpose. Speed Points Over Number of Children Crossing This category refers to the total number of children using the route or crossing. This number can be determined by either counting the children using the crossing or contacting the school and reviewing the number of children living in the area that would need to walk along the route or use the crossing. Number of Children Points or more 10 31

32 Percentage of Trucks The 24-hour volume/classification count is used in providing input for the percentage of trucks. If actual classification information is not available, use proper judgment based on information at other comparable locations. Percentage (%) Points Over Percentage of Grade This category refers to whether or not there is either an uphill or downhill grade. Use topography maps to determine the grade. If topography maps are hard to read or are not available, use electronic level to obtain these measurements. Percentage (%) Points or more 4 Accident Rate The equation used to compute the accident rate is as follows: Rate = Total number of accidents 3 years (1,000,000 /ADT)(0.5)(205 days) To better represent the relationship of accidents to pedestrian safety, instead of the traditional use of one-year accident records in the formula, a three-year sample period is used. Also, the fifty percent value in the denominator is based on a comparative review of the peak pedestrian usage volume to overall Average Daily Traffic (ADT). 32

33 Locations with less than 2 accidents per year and an ADT of 1,000 or lower, the accident rate shall be zero. This rate assignment is used to prevent a safe, low volume street from being assigned a high accident rate due to random occurrence of accidents in a sample year. Accident Rate Points or more 6 Pedestrian Delay This refers to the percentage of delay in time that a pedestrian must wait to cross a street safely based on the traffic conditions such as speed, roadway geometrics, and the available gaps in the traffic stream. At signalized intersections, the percentage of delay is at sixty-one percent or better which counts for zero points. For all other situations, use actual delay determined through a study. Delay (%) Points Over 60 0 Unusual Geometrics The following characteristics are examples of what might constitute Unusual Geometrics for a school crossing: 33

34 Mid-block: A marked crosswalk that is not near an intersection Restricted view (horizontal alignment): The lack of visibility of crossing location due to horizontal curve in the road. The point at which the crossing becomes totally visible to an approaching vehicle shall be used as the input distance to compute this factor. Roadway curvature (vertical alignment): The lack of visibility of a crossing location due to a hill crest or a rise in the pavement surface. The point at which the crossing becomes totally visible to the approaching vehicle shall be used as the input distance to compute this factor. Sight Distance Points < or more 0 SAFETY EDUCATION As previously mentioned, the educational component of the program is currently being redesigned to create a more user-friendly traffic safety curriculum that will be provided to the city s schools. The curriculum, geared towards children in Kindergarten through 6 th grade, will include lessons on pedestrian and bicycle safety that relate to one or more of the Colorado Model Content Standards. Although schools will each receive a copy, staff will still be available for traffic safety education in the classrooms. In addition, there are a number of videos (with talking points) available that address traffic safety for elementary and middle school aged children, as well as a video directed towards parents and their role in safely transporting their child to and from school. Each elementary school has received a copy of Being Streetwise, a short video with basic pedestrian and bicycle safety information. The video Auto-Ped was created specifically with middle school students in mind and illustrates the consequences of playing in traffic. Schools are encouraged to promote safe 34

35 walking and bicycling to school habits each year by participating in the International Walk Your Child to School Day. Lastly, staff has begun work on creating Suggested Route to School plans for each elementary school in the City. As part of the Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure project by Metro Rides in Traffic Engineering staff created Suggested Routes to School maps for 10 elementary schools and 4 middle schools. A large map was produced for each school and smaller 8 x 10 versions were sent home with students. The maps are a valuable resource for parents and students to help determine the best route to school. SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL ALL KIDS DESERVE SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL Colorado Safe Routes to School (SRTS) uses a comprehensive approach to make school routes safe for children when walking and bicycling to school. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) administers Colorado SRTS program. In Colorado, many communities, parents and schools are fostering a safe environment for their students by using SRTS programs to not only fund education and safe infrastructure, but also to encourage healthy options for our children that are safe for both walking and bicycling. WHY IS THIS PROGRAM IMPORTANT? SRTS programs can improve safety, not just for children, but for the entire community. It provides opportunities for people to increase their physical activity and improve their health. It reduces congestion and pollution around our schools and encourages partnerships. In 1969, roughly half of all 5-to-18 year olds walked or biked to school. Nearly 90% are driven by auto or bus to school today. SRTS is a Federal-Aid program to enable children to walk and bicycle safely. In Colorado, funds are distributed to develop programs for K-8 grades. The SRTS Advisory Committee includes educators, parents, bicyclists, pedestrians, law enforcement, and transportation planners. School districts, schools, cities, counties, state entities and tribal entities are eligible to apply. Nonprofits need to partner with a state subdivision to apply for funding. 35

36 A call for applications is announced through Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Public Information Office. SRTS applications are available on the website. From 36

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