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City installs school zone flashing beacons at five elementary schools

: From left, Dean Briscoe, Traffic Control Systems Technician and Carl Wineland, Street Maintenance Worker, install a new flashing beacon sign at Liberty Elementary School in Marysville. -
: From left, Dean Briscoe, Traffic Control Systems Technician and Carl Wineland, Street Maintenance Worker, install a new flashing beacon sign at Liberty Elementary School in Marysville.
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MARYSVILLE -- City street maintenance workers this week began installing school zone flashing beacon signs at five elementary schools to give extra alert to drivers that the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph when the beacon flashes whether children are present or not.
The solar-powered flashing yellow beacons were provided through a $35,845 state grant funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The city of Marysville Public Works, the Police Motor Patrol Unit and Marysville School District partnered in pursuing the grant.
The recipient elementary schools are Allen Creek, Kellogg Marsh, Liberty, Marshall and Sunnyside, with some nearby middle schools such as Marysville Middle School also benefiting. The 20 mph speed limit signs and flashing beacons are posted within designated school zones, which, according to state law, extend 300 feet either direction from marked crosswalks.
The signs equipped with flashing lights will operate for a set period of time before and after school, which will varies slightly from one elementary to the next, City Traffic Engineer John Tatum said.
The city and School District support flashing yellow beacons as one of the most effective ways to reduce vehicle speeds in school zones, said Tatum, repeating what a study commissioned by the WTSC concluded.
Police and city traffic engineers hope that educating the public about the flashing beacons and general driver safety when entering school zones will reduce the risk of pedestrian and vehicle accidents.
Police can enforce 20 mph school zone violations anytime the beacons are flashing, even if children are not visibly present, Sgt. Doug Lee said. Flashing speed beacons are considered an extra-ordinary device that, coupled with crosswalks and crossing guards before and after school, should give drivers more than enough reasons to slow down when approaching a school. Drive carefully for kids sake.

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