Concerns with school crosswalk changes

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email
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Over the past year, some school crosswalks have undergone a change. No longer do lights constantly flash in school zones. Instead, someone actually has to press the button before they start blinking.

It's a change Demarla Martinez says is causing some problems. She is the Safety Instructor at OK Elementary, and says drivers are still getting accustomed to the different system.

"They're going really fast until they see that flashing yellow light," Martinez said. "But there's been almost close accidents happening up here, up close in front of the schools."

The City Traffic Engineer says the goal of the change is to improve safety.

"Every time those school flashers come on, there's a child present, and the drivers are alerted to a real hazard, rather than one where they see the flashers on and there's no real meaning to it," said Brian Coon.

He says rather than paying attention to their speedometers, the objective is to have them look up for children. Also, the new system operates 24 hours a day, providing students protection even while school is not in session. The idea has been polarizing among parents.

"My son is a kindergartener so it just makes me a little bit nervous that the cars are going through here fast all the time and that they only blink now when someone pushes a button," said parent Tausha Gardner.

"They're not bad, I actually like them better than the old ones," said parent Michael Stewart.

Obviously, drivers are urged to slow down and pay close attention when they see the school lights blinking.

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