Westport creates school zones to increase pedestrian safety | #schoolsaftey

WESTPORT — The town is planning to establish school zones at every campus in hopes of increasing pedestrian safety. 

Staff Cpl. Al D’Amura said this is going to help reduce speeding, increase awareness and encourage safe habits around schools. He said this will especially help protect the students, parents and teachers in the area. 

“We want to make sure that they’re safe,” he said. 

Fines will be doubled in school zones. So if a fine were $150 for speeding elsewhere in town, speeding in a school zone would be a $300 fine, he said. Proper signage will be placed in the area to ensure people know where the school zone starts and ends. 

Ratkiewich said this is happening now because these areas were often brought up as problems during the town’s nine traffic safety meetings, especially at Coleytown, where traffic can be heavy. 

He added this coincides with the town’s Safe Streets for All planning process. With a school zone already established, it will be easier for them to get approvals to install flashing beacons or other safety measures. 

D’Amura said the police department also heard traffic concerns about these areas. 

The town is also considering establishing a Safe Routes to School program, which can be part of the Safe Streets for All Project and falls under the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ratkiewich said. It promotes walking and bicycling to school through infrastructure improvements and safety education.

Launching the Safe Routes program would have to go through the Board of Education, but the process will be easier when school zones are established, he said. 

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