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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New school year features later start time for high schools

Safety is top priority; allowing extra travel time recommended

The first day of school for the Bellevue School District is Thursday, Sept. 1. The Bellevue Police Department, the Transportation Department and Bellevue School District will work to ensure that students, parents and commuters reach their destinations safely.

school zone beacon

This year, start times for Bellevue high schools will be one hour later, transitioning from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. This change means traffic patterns will alter as well, both for those heading to school and some commuters going to work. The higher volumes typically found near high schools around the start of the school day will happen roughly one hour later.

Allowing extra time to reach schools and jobs is recommended, especially for the first few days of the school year until people adjust to the new traffic patterns.

One innovation that eventually could help lighten the traffic load around schools is a pilot program called Bellevue School Pool, scheduled to launch in October at eight schools. It's a secure, online tool matching families that want to carpool, bike or walk to school together. Bellevue School Pool is a partnership between the Bellevue School District, City of Bellevue, King County and TransManage, the Bellevue Downtown Association’s transportation arm.

Bellevue Police remind motorists that when yellow lights are flashing in school speed zones, the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph. In other school zones, the 20 mph limit is in effect when children are present, so be prepared to slow down and keep an eye out for kids. Also remember to stop for school buses when lights are flashing or the stop sign is out -- or be prepared for a hefty fine.

The city's photo enforcement cameras will be operating during school hours at Stevenson Elementary School, Lake Hills Elementary School, and Sunset Elementary School.

Bellevue Police offer the following safety tips for drivers and pedestrians:

  • Slow down in school zones. The stopping distance of a vehicle traveling 30 mph is nearly twice the stopping distance of a vehicle traveling 20 mph;
  • Pay attention while driving; don’t be distracted by electronic devices or cell phones, and watch for pedestrians when entering a school driveway or turning a corner;
  • Stop for pedestrians and children getting on and off school buses. It's unlawful to pass a school bus when the red lights are flashing;
  • Stop behind the crosswalk at intersections to allow room for pedestrians. Pedestrians should use crosswalks and cross with the crossing sign or light; and
  • If your kids walk to school, make sure they know the rules of the road and your expectations.

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Contact Information

450 110th Ave. NE
P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: David Grant, Public Information Officer
Phone: 425-452-4397
E-mail: dgrant@bellevuewa.gov

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