Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


Case Study No. 30

Elementary School Crosswalk Enhancement Program

Bellevue, Washington

Prepared by Karen Gonzalez, City of Bellevue, and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Updated in 2012 by Linda Glas, P.E., City of Bellevue Transportation Department


Speeding on residential streets is cited as one of the top concerns of local citizens. Additionally, vehicles were parking too close to the crossing areas at schools, reducing visibility and increasing the potential for crashes involving young pedestrians. The City partnered with citizens and community groups to incorporate school pedestrian measures into a two-year Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program. The first year focused on driver behavior through education and enforcement programs, and in the second year infrastructure improvements were used if necessary. For this project, five different school locations were selected for facilities improvements on the basis of the high number of students living within walking distance.


PedBee, the City of Bellevue’s pedestrian mascot, shares a high five with a student at a Walk to School event. Photo credit: King County Department of Public Health.

Raised crosswalks were installed to reduce vehicle speeds at the same time as improving pedestrian visibility through preventing vehicles from parking too near the crosswalk. Curb extensions were also added where feasible to decrease the distance necessary to cross the road and to improve line of sight distance. To keep pedestrians themselves from reducing visibility of oncoming traffic, bollards were installed in the curb extensions to prevent children from huddling near the curb. In several locations additional measures were also taken, such as a traffic circle for additional traffic calming, improved street lighting, and additional sidewalk to bridge gaps.

The improvements also included an educational component. Plaques were installed on the bollards depicting safety tips and the City of Bellevue's pedestrian mascot, PedBee. Brochures on safe walking practices were distributed to parents and students, and some schools participated in joint Transportation and Police staff presentations on safe walking practices.

The cost of the improvements at each school was about $15,000, though budgets reached $35,000 for schools that required additional sidewalk. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission provided $7,500 in grant funding, and the remaining funding came from a combined effort of the City of Bellevue Transportation Department and the Bellevue Parent Teacher Student Association.


At the three locations for which data are available, the average vehicle speed reduced by 3 mi/h. The curb extensions have effectively prevented parking next to the crosswalk, physically keeping them at least 30 ft away. Comments from parents and residents are extremely positive and the city plans to continue these improvements in future projects. The only disadvantage found was that in the case of curb extensions, the narrowed lane may limit bicycle lanes.


City of Bellevue
Transportation Department
301 116th Avenue SE, Suite #150
Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: (425) 452-4598