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Cities update school zone signs

Posted September 10, 2009

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— For some drivers, figuring out when school zones are in effect and how fast they should be driving can be difficult. It is even worse when the signs are not current.

“There’s a lot of information on the sign because the school schedule is a little bit more complicated,” said Kevin Lacy, a traffic engineer with the state Department of Transportation.

Almost every day, Brigitte Lang passes Lockhart Elementary School in Knightdale where are a series of new speed limit signs.

“If I was able to stop one day and read it, I could see it,” Lang said.

A school zone sign in Knightdale. School zone signs are updated

Since July, Wake County schools dismissing students an hour early on Wednesdays so teachers can meet with one another. The other four days of the week, students stay 10 minutes later than in years past.

“It’s a change in people’s routine. They get used to a certain time frame,” said Joe Desormeaux, Wake County Schools assistant superintendent for facilities.

Changes like these mean the signs have to be changed by agencies like the state Department of Transportation. Some of the signs in the county have already switched, but others haven’t.

The city of Raleigh is responsible for changing signs near schools within city limits. Cary also is responsible for school signs within the town. There, flashing signals alert drivers when school zones are active.

Municipal officials said they would bill Wake County schools for the materials once the job is done.

“It’s above and beyond normal routine maintenance,” Lacy said.

Officials hope to have the signs updated by October.

“We were not expecting a bill and we haven’t seen one yet, so we’ll see what happens,” Desormeaux said.

No matter who pays, Lang said the signs simply won't work.

“There’s no way you can follow that sign without somebody hitting you from behind if you tried to read it,” Lang said.

6 Comments

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  • james27613 Sep 11, 2009

    Easy to fix:

    Make the speed limit signs all the same year round for all the schools.

    Save big money and avoid any confusion.

  • taurismo Sep 11, 2009

    Flasing lights are too logical for Wake County to imnplement all across the board. Take the Leesville Road schools. You have three schools, on three different times. The signs now are from like 6:50am to 9:45 am, then 2:00pm to 4:15 pm. The elementary school has been year round for the past couple of years, the middle school, I believe also recently became year round. However, the high school is not. Middle school does not get out until after 3:00pm, but yet the signs still say 2:00pm in the afternoon, and 6:50am, although middle school does not begin until after 8:00am! Imagine trying to fit all the different start/end times on one little sign. You'd have to have a succession of signs spaced out maybe every ten feet for a long stretch of Leesville Road!

  • As if .... Sep 10, 2009

    At least most schools have signs. The new Highschool that was just opened in Wake Forest has of today not one sign on the nightmare that is Forestville rd. Thanks DOT and Wcpss.

  • As if .... Sep 10, 2009

    At least they are changing signs, but where are the signs for the new Heritage High-school ?? As of today the traffic nightmare that DOT and WCPSS created along Forestville rd. still has not one 25 MPH sign !! A two lane road and no sidewalks for kids to use is just waiting for a disaster .

  • TriangleMommy Sep 10, 2009

    And what is wrong with the type of sign often used in YR school zones - if the lights are flashing its the School zone time. I realize the times are still on the signs - but the flashing lights should simply be used PERIOD for ANY and ALL school zones to alert drivers that it is an ACTIVE school zone period.
    It's simple - we don't have to read times, figure out if school is in session or not.

    But doubtful Wake or any other county in this state would do the logical thing.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Sep 10, 2009

    WCPSS once against creates aggravation and grief in Wake County.

    Hopefully, we'll vote these people out in the fall and replace them with sensible people.