The City of Des Moines on Thursday (Nov. 1) announced the expansion of its School Zone Safety Program, which aims to protect students, drivers, and passengers from injuries or collisions caused by speeding vehicles in school zones.
The program has expanded to an additional school site located on 24th Avenue South in front of Midway Elementary and Pacific Middle School (map below), where Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras were installed in the school zone in October, along the northbound and southbound lanes.
The speed cameras are set to operate on school days when the flashing beacon warning system is operating before and after school:
- 7:35 – 8:15 a.m.
- 2:35 – 3:05 p.m. (early dismissal Fridays 1:05 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.)
- 8:35 – 9:15 a.m.
- 3:35 – 4:05 p.m. (early dismissal Fridays 2:05 p.m. – 2:35 p.m.).
With this new site there will again be an initial 30-day introductory and public education period where warning notices, but no monetary penalty will be issued to the registered owner of any vehicle photographed while speeding. Actual enforcement and the issuance of Notice of Infractions will commence on January 2, 2013.
In October 2011, the City of Des Moines installed Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras in the school zone along the northbound and southbound lanes of 16th Ave South in front of Woodmont Elementary School (read our previous coverage here). The city chose this location after conducting comprehensive speed studies in September 2010 and April 2011. The results of the speed studies showed an average of 100 to 130 speeding violations during peak pick-up and drop-off times during the day. To create a safer school zone for children, the speed cameras only operate on school days when the flashing beacon warning system is operating, which is also part of the safety program before and after school: 7:40 – 8:20 a.m. and 2:40 – 3:10 p.m. This School Safety Program had an initial introductory and public education period where warning notices were issued with no monetary penalty to the registered owner of any vehicle photographed while speeding. Actual enforcement and the issuance of Notice of Infractions commenced on December 1, 2011.
In June 2012, due to an 82% reduction in the number of motorist speeding through the Woodmont Elementary school zone, the Des Moines City Council approved to continue the Automated Speed Enforcement Program. The City Council also approved the expansion of the program to include an additional school site located on 24th Avenue South in front of Midway Elementary and Pacific Middle School. The city chose this second site after conducting another comprehensive speed study in February 2012, which showed an average of about 100 speed violations per day. This school zone also has a flashing beacon warning system indicating the school zone is active.
“Our introductory and public education period provides drivers the opportunity to check their speed and comply with our school zone safety program before actual Notice of Infractions will begin to be issued,” reads an announcement. “The intent of this program is to alert drivers to the school zones, reduce speeds, and increase safety for students.”
The announcement continues:
The City of Des Moines can attest to the analysis released by the traffic safety camera company, American Traffic Solutions. This analysis overwhelmingly concludes the use of automated road safety cameras to identify speeding vehicles in school zones have dramatically reduced the number of violations during hours when children are present.
Des Moines is utilizing advanced technology with the goal of improving driving behaviors within our school zones. Speed compliance cameras in school zones are utilized to make a safe environment for pedestrians and motorists. Drivers are urged to obey all traffic control signs, slow down and always expect the unexpected. This road safety camera program enhances enforcement abilities while freeing up other police resources to focus on the mission of promoting traffic safety.
Revenue generated from this School Zone Safety Program first pays for the equipment/payments to the contractor and covers the city’s cost of running the program (i.e. officer’s time to review the violations and court time to process). The remaining revenue will go into a dedicated Traffic Safety Fund for projects such as sidewalks along identified school walking routes, crosswalk enhancement projects, street signage, enforcement initiatives, traffic calming equipment such as driver feedback signs, implementation of flashing beacon warning systems in other school zones, and other safety projects aimed at enhancing pedestrian safety—particularly in and around schools in our community.
The City of Des Moines has contracted with American Traffic Solutions Inc. (ATS), which provides road safety programs for nearly 300 communities across North America. More information about ATS is available at www.atsol.com.