Old school zone signs remain in force

A few years ago the state passed new school zone sign requirements which required either blinking lights or hours when the lower limits applied. Are the old signs that are still in some locations, which state "... when children are present," still enforceable?

— Malcolm T., Applegate

Since at least one member of our Since You Asked staff confesses to having been the victim of a speed van in a school zone a few years back, we thought we'd best check with Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen, who clarified the new state school zone requirements.

In 2007, legislation was passed to more clearly define the different school zone postings, Hansen said. There are two signs in school zones which require drivers to slow down to 20 mph — the flashing yellow light and the sign which reads in part, "School Days, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m."

The short answer to your question, Malcolm, is that when the other sign — "When children are present" — is near school crosswalks, it is still enforceable.

Such a sign can be seen near the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Modoc Avenue as you approach Hoover Elementary School.

" 'When children are present' is only able to be posted at school crosswalks," Hansen said. " 'When children are present' means when they are physically in the crosswalk, if they are on the sidewalk preparing to go in or if there is a crossing guard member there."

In those cases, you should fully stop and wait for the children or other pedestrians to completely cross the street before continuing with caution, he said.

The flashing yellow lights, called amber flashers, are posted in school zones where there is a high volume of either pedestrian or vehicle traffic, said Larry Beskow, a city engineer. Among the locations for the flashers are two spots on Delta Waters Road near Kennedy Elementary School and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, and another on Siskiyou Boulevard near Hoover.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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