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Woodmere Elementary School

School Safety Project
Final Evaluation

Introduction

The Traffic Calming Program (TCP) undertook a School Safety Project (SSP) in the fall of 1997 on the streets adjacent to Woodmere Elementary School. Woodmere is bounded by SE 78th Avenue to the west, SE 80th Avenue to the east and SE Duke Street to the north.
 
Area Map

Project Goals

The general goal of a school safety project is to enhance the safety of younger pedestrians associated with the elementary school. Enhancing the pedestrian environment can be accomplished by reducing adjacent vehicle speeds or by reducing the number of pedestrian/vehicle interactions. The Woodmere school safety committee was particularly sensitive to automobile speed and pedestrian safety at the marked crosswalks.
 
The traffic committee's adopted goals and objectives were as follows:
 
I. Reduce speeding around the school.
II. Reduce corner cutting at cross walks.
III. Safer crossing locations.

Proposed Solution

The following tools were employed to achieve the defined goals:
  • Speed bumps on the streets adjacent to the school to slow automobile traffic. Duke is an Emergency Response Route and not eligible for speed bumps.
  • Curb extensions at corners to prevent corner cutting.
  • Curb extensions at the crosswalks to shorten crossing distances.

Open House

Residents adjacent to Woodmere Elementary, as well as the general neighborhood, were invited to an open house to review and comment on the proposed project on February 5, 1998. Six residents attended the open house. Several of those who attended considered the bumps to be excessive, unnecessary or considered other expenditures more important.

Construction

The Bureau of Maintenance constructed eight speed bumps around the school on April 5, 1998, as shown in the area map. The curb extensions, constructed by contract, were finished in September of 1998.

Performance

SE 78th – Duke to south of Cooper
 
Vehicle Speeds
 
As graph one shows, vehicle speeds, previously concentrated between 20 and 28 mph, have been shifted into the range of 17 to 25 mphs. The average 85th percentile vehicle speed before the project was 29.7 mph. Since bump construction the average 85th percentile speed is 22.7 mph and ranges from a low of 21 mph (near the bumps) to a high of 25 mph. Before installation of the speed bumps 41% of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit of 25 mph and 3.5% exceeded the limit by 10 mph or more. Since bump construction 7% of drivers exceed the posted speed limit and 0.5% exceed the limit by 10 mph or more.
 
Graph 1

 
Traffic Volume
 
Traffic volumes measured before bump construction averaged 560 vehicles per day (vpd). After bump construction volumes averaged 430 vpd.
 
SE 80th – Duke to Cooper
 
Vehicle Speeds
 
As graph two shows, vehicle speeds have been shifted into the range of 17 to 22 mphs. The average 85th percentile vehicle speed before the project was 26 mph. Since bump construction the average 85th percentile speed is 21.6 mph and ranges from a low of 19 mph (near the bumps) to a high of 23 mph.
 
Graph 2

 
Before installation of the speed bumps 21% of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit of 25 mph and 0.7% exceeded the limit by 10 mph or more. Since bump construction 3.8% of drivers exceed the posted speed limit and 0.05% exceed the limit by 10 mph or more.
 
Traffic Volume
 
Traffic volumes measured before bump construction averaged 290 vehicles per day (vpd). After bump construction volumes averaged 270 vpd.
 
SE Cooper – 78th to east of 80th
 
Vehicle Speeds
 
As graph three shows (next page), vehicle speeds that previously concentrated between 17 and 25 mph have been shifted into a lower speed range. The average 85th percentile vehicle speed before the project was 27 mph. Since bump construction the average 85th percentile speed is 21 mph and ranges from a low of 17 mph (near the bumps) to a high of 22 mph. Before installation of the speed bumps 20% of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit of 25 mph. Since bump construction 1.8% of drivers exceed the posted speed limit.
 
Graph 3

 
Traffic Volume
 
Traffic volumes measured before bump construction averaged 270 vehicles per day (vpd). After bump construction volumes averaged 230 vpd.
 
SE Duke – 78th to 80th
 
Vehicle Speeds
 
As graph four shows, vehicle speeds that previously concentrated between 32 and 37 mph have shifted into the range of 29 to 34 mph. The average 85th percentile vehicle speed before the project was 37 mph. Since construction of curb extensions, the average 85th percentile speed is 35 mph in the 30-mph zone. Before construction 60% of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit of 30 mph and 4% exceeded the limit by 10 mph or more. Since bump construction 40% of drivers exceed the posted speed limit and 2% exceed the limit by 10 mph or more. Change in vehicle speeds is not a predictable outcome when using curb extensions.
 
Graph 4

 
Traffic Volume
 
Traffic volume measured before construction was 5990 vehicles per day (vpd). After construction volume was measured to be 5600 vpd. The nearly 400 vpd change is within expected daily fluctuations.

Neighborhood

Traffic volumes measured on side streets adjacent to the project streets showed no significant increases from volumes measured prior to speed bump construction.

Summary

The Woodmere Elementary School Safety Project has succeeded in meeting its primary goals as follows:
 
I. Reduce speeding around the school. Speeding around the school has been reduced. On SE 78th, SE 80th and SE Cooper, where 20-40% of drivers formerly exceeded the speed limit only 2-7% now do so. A small decrease in speed was measured on SE Duke, where none was expected.
 
II. Reduce corner cutting at cross walks. Installation of curb extensions has eliminated the pathway drivers formerly used to cut corners.
 
III. Safer crossing locations. Curb extensions at crossing locations reduced the crossing distance and pedestrian exposure to traffic, and increased opportunities to cross SE Duke.

School Comments

The principal is pleased with the project and reports that people are very happy with the devices. Benefits of the project include slower traffic near the school, increased driver awareness to the fact that there is a school there, and elimination of drivers cutting in front of the children when they cross at 79th.

Conclusions

Traffic Calming around Woodmere Elementary School has enhanced street safety for all pedestrians and improved livability.