Snohomish County recently moved a speed limit sign to the same post as a sign marking the end of a school zone to address driver confusion in the area of the Marysville School District’s Tulalip campus. (Contributed photo)

Snohomish County recently moved a speed limit sign to the same post as a sign marking the end of a school zone to address driver confusion in the area of the Marysville School District’s Tulalip campus. (Contributed photo)

Speed up or slow down? Sign confusion in school zone fixed

Speed limit and school zone signs near the Tulalip Campus now share a pole.

Street Smarts reader Paul Miller, of Tulalip, wrote in about a confusing series of signs near the Marysville School District’s Tulalip Campus on 27th Avenue NE.

Traveling southbound, there was a sign noting the 35 mph speed limit. But then, posted just after that sign, was an “End School Zone” sign. And a school zone speed limit is 20 mph.

“My concern is may I legally increase my speed before the ‘End School Zone’ sign?” Miller said.

Maybe.

School zone rules vary. In this section of roadway, posted signs and other equipment require drivers to reduce their speed to 20 mph “when children are present” or when a beacon is flashing.

If the beacon is dark and no kids are around, a driver can maintain speeds up to 35 mph.

If the beacon is flashing, or if there is a kid in the area, then a driver needs to wait until he or she reaches the “End School Zone” sign before taking the vehicle above 20 mph.

School zones are confusing enough. The order of these signs only added to that confusion.

We pitched that gut-check to Snohomish County, which maintains 27th Avenue NE.

Snohomish County Public Works Traffic Operations Supervisor Dale Valiant and other staff took a look at the site. Though the law didn’t require anything to be moved, they made a switch anyway.

The speed limit sign and “End School Zone” sign now share a common metal pole, “just to make absolutely sure there is no confusion in that area,” spokesman Matt Phelps said.

The change was made last week.

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