Just a reminder that school has started in Hoquiam and our school zones are 20 mph when flashing! This includes Central Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and the zone by Hoquiam Middle School/ Hoquiam High School on West Emerson Ave. In the school zone, 20 mph is 20 mph.

Please watch out for the flashing lights, as well as children walking and biking to and from school. There is also an increase in traffic around the schools with the school buses and parents dropping off kids during the school year.

WHY IS THE LIMIT 20 mph and WHY DOES IT MATTER? Good question, and here is the answer: According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, research has shown that a child has approximately an 80% chance of surviving if struck by a car going 20 mph, versus an 80% chance of being killed if struck by a car going 27-28 mph (or faster), especially among elementary school age students.

Most of the violations we cite in our school zones are well above 27-28 mph and usually into the 30+ mph range.

Speeding through a school zone may only save you a few seconds, but it could cost a child his or her life. Plus, for those drivers who “did not see the sign and flashing light”, does that mean you would also not be paying enough attention to see the child who darts out into traffic? Or the child waiting at the crosswalk?

SPEAKING OF CROSSWALKS…the stop light on Emerson Ave at Simpson Ave in the Central Elementary school zone was removed over the summer by state DOT. The stop light was replaced with courtesy yellow flashing crosswalk lights which are push-button activated.

This is a big change to the traffic pattern and we are monitoring it closely, especially once the student school crossing guards are out for this crosswalk (as there is no longer a stop light overhead). Please be aware of the crosswalk, which is unfortunately on a corner with limited advanced visibility when eastbound, and be prepared to stop!