Carson City’s Public Works Transportation staff and the Regional Transportation Commission are installing signage and enlarging school zone boundaries in efforts to increase visibility of students and pedestrians to drivers.
The Carson City School District Board of Trustees heard from the city’s Public Works Transportation staff last week on updating the local school zones. The city ordinance was updated last year for the first time since 1992 with more than 250 signs receiving upgrades. This year, the Board of Supervisors approved $300,000 to increase the safety of the school zones and install more speed feedback signs and flashing beacons. Staff reports also indicated school zone signs have been removed along and east of Stewart Street adjacent to Pioneer High School.
Public Works transportation manager Lucia Maloney and transportation analyst Kelly Norman, providing the details at the July 27 school board meeting, outlined where the school zones have been adjusted since 2020 based on public comment and discussed plans for the signage installation in conjunction with the RTC.
Much of the initial work on the school zones themselves involved extending or revising them from 200 feet to 500 feet around Fritsch Elementary, Carson Middle, Bordewich Bray Elementary, Eagle Valley Middle and Pioneer High schools, Norman noted. Norman said staff examines and abides by industry best practices for extending the zones.
New beacons and speed feedback signs especially are needed around the Carson Middle, Bordewich Bray, Eagle Valley and Fritsch sites for visibility to remind drivers when to slow down or indicate the speeds at which they’re traveling when they’re within a school zone.
Public comment in recent months has been key on extending the school zone near Carson Middle and Bordewich Bray, two schools surrounded by high traffic requiring students to cross streets to arrive on campus or walk back home in the morning or after school, especially around King Street.
Norman said as of Aug. 11, the city’s contract is up for award at the RTC, with construction anticipated Sept. 7 through Oct. 8. She noted staff also has received comments from the school board into lighting crosswalks and Norman said the city will be looking into the request.
School board trustee Stacie Wilke-McCulloch asked about the set hours for a school zone and when they occur, and Maloney said that has been determined by the Nevada Revised Statutes. She added the city’s district attorney works with city staff, including the sheriff, and found there was some confusion with some drivers crossing into school zones. Ultimately, they found the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for many of Carson City’s school zones were optimal, also referring to the City of Reno and Douglas County for guidance.
“Drivers were getting frustrated they had to drive 15 mph with no kids around a high-volume road,” Maloney said during last week’s presentation.
School board President Joe Cacioppo expressed thanks for the consistency the city is looking to achieve in its traffic enforcement for school zones.
“I see a lot of distracted drivers,” Cacioppo said. “Beacons seem to perk people up.”