Ever been 5 minutes late for school? What did you do? I bet you didn’t slow down, and look more carefully for cars. That’s why this example of poor design bugs the shit out of me.
Yes, the sign is visually clear about its main message – 40km/h – but the system design behind the rest of the sign is close to evil. It says “after 8:55 am, drivers are welcome to speed up again to whatever the usual speed limit is (50 or 60 or even 70km/h in some areas.)” And that’s exactly when kids and parents heading for school – or heading for work after rushing to drop kids off – will be at their most distracted. And that little bit of extra speed kills. It really does.
Oh, and don’t be on the fucking street after 3:15, kids! That’s Car Time, that is – and you’re just a distraction. Never mind that it takes 5 minutes to get your bag, another 5 to say goodbye to your friends and another 20 to walk home.
The semiotics behind school-zone speed signs could be so different. What if “School Zones” were permanent slow zones – yes, even during holidays? What would our signage look like then?