School-Zone

Safe School Routes

One of the major traffic safety concerns in Provo is the safety of children to and from school. The information provided on this page is designed to help our residents understand the various roles and responsibilities for school route safety and how changes to designated school routes are achieved.

Clearly, the first responsibility for school route safety belongs to students, parents and motorists. We all have a responsibility to walk, bicycle and drive safely to school, and those driving vehicles in areas where children walk to school need to be extra cautious. Teaching our children safe walking and bicycling skills is an important preventive measure.

The Provo City School District provides bus transportation for students in accordance with state-adopted standards. The State Board of Education provides funding for bus transportation for students living a certain distance from school, and occasionally for bus services for students who would otherwise cross or walk along hazardous roadways.For students who walk or bike to school, state law requires cities to provide school crosswalks, warning lights and/or crossing guards under very specific state standards. In 1992, the State Legislature imposed uniform standards for school crossings in an attempt to make the rules, the warning signs and the management of crossings predictable and uniform around Utah.With the advent of charter schools in Utah, applying safety standards for school routes has become more difficult because charter schools typically have no set boundaries. Many parents drive their children to charter schools, but some children in the neighborhood may walk, and some charter schools operate their own buses.

 
SchoolWhere is all Starts Under Utah law, consideration for school crossings, crossing guards and other safe school strategies begins with each school's Community Council. The Community Council begins the process by defining a child access routing plan. This routing plan is the first step in the process of evaluating safe school routes. The Council, usually working through a Safety Committee, defines the best way for children to walk or bike to school. The Utah Department of Transportation has an easy to use software program called SNAP that helps Community Councils develop a map showing the best walking and biking routes for students to take. The Council prepares the map annually showing from where walking students come and how they should get to school as safely as possible. This routing plan will also identify possible interventions needed like new crosswalks, crossing guards, sidewalks or other safety enhancements.

School2How it Progresses Each Community Council then submits its proposed routing plan to the School District's Transportation department, which then collects, analyzes and puts together the routing plans into an overall district-wide approach.

When the District is ready to proceed, they contact the Provo City Mayor's Office and the City's Safe School Route Committee is convened with representatives from the school district, the police department and the City Engineer, who will evaluate and make final decisions about placement of these proposed improvements. Because state law and regulation create criteria for placement of these improvements, the engineering staff will conduct a safety study to determine whether any proposed improvements meet “warrants” or the criteria for implementation. Once the studies have been completed, the warranted improvements can be made.

Because funding for crosswalks, warning signs, lights and crossing guards is significant and must be budgeted by the City each year in a fiscal year beginning July 1, the City plans to hold the Safe School Route Committee meetings early each spring for the next school year. That way, decisions made can budgeted for and improvements made prior to the start of the school year in August.

So, the timeline for considering these safe route to school changes starts in January with the Community Councils and the district submits the district routing plan changes to the City in March, with the final action by the Safe School Route Committee in April.