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School crosswalks are freshly painted and bright signs are ready to alert drivers to the little people who will soon be trekking through neighborhoods and crossing streets on their way to school. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports on how the City of Springfield prepares for back-to-school safety.
Mandy Buettgen works with the city’s Public Works department. She says a lot of preparation goes into keeping kids safe when they head back to school.
For example, flashing yellow beacons have been added to all 20 miles per hour school speed zones to let drivers know they need to slow down.
“If there is a school speed zone--and not every school has a school speed zone—but those that do, depending on the classification of the street and some other factors there, the speed limit will be 20 miles per hour during the flashing, that means, during the school zone time. At other times it will go back to the regular speed limit,” she said.
It’s also important to slow down around school buses, and always come to a complete stop when the bus stops, because children might be crossing the road once they get off the bus.
Buettgen says the city has made an effort in recent years to get drivers’ attention when it comes to awareness.
“Also, we were able to get a FedEx grant which helped us to purchase those high-reflective post sleeves that go on the school zone signs. They’re bright yellow. Everybody has seen them—they really pop out. And they also help us to catch drivers’ attention, and to make sure they’re alert for kids crossing the street.”
According to a release from the city, contractors will be working into the fall to build three miles of additional sidewalks using funding from the ¼ cent sales tax for capital improvements.
The City of Springfield also has Walking Route Maps for all elementary schools in the R-12 school district. Those maps show which route is safest for a child who is walking to school, and they can be found at www.springfieldmo.gov/traffic.
SafeKids, a national partnership that tries to prevent childhood injuries, also recommends the following when it comes to drivers and back-to-school safety:
1. Slow down and be especially alert in the residential neighborhoods and school zones.2. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.3. Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving.
Springfield Public Schools start classes Tuesday, August 24.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.