New this year are countdown signals and Elliott pick-up and drop-off area
The City of Lincoln’s Public Works and Utilities Department and Police Department and the Lincoln Public Schools will again sponsor the annual “Safe Walk and Safe Ride to School Night” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 21. All 25 mile per hour school speed zones will be in operation and enforced for this City-wide event to remind residents that schools are about to open.
For students attending Campbell Elementary and Goodrich Middle Schools, the Public Works and Utilities Department has installed a new device at the intersection of 20th and Superior streets called a “countdown pedestrian signal.” In addition to the “walk” and “don’t walk” indicators, the signal has a countdown timer during the flashing “don’t walk” phase. The timer shows pedestrians how many seconds they have to cross the street before the signal changes.
“We expect this new countdown signal to be less confusing for pedestrians, especially the children who cross this very busy street on their way to school,” said Mayor Seng. “The goal is to increase crosswalk safety and improve the traffic flow.”
The City also will install countdown signals at 45th and Adams streets (for Huntington Elementary) and 33rd and Vine streets (for Hartley Elementary) and will evaluate their effectiveness. The signals cost $265 each.
As part of “Safe Walk and Safe Ride to School Night” Thursday, Mayor Seng will attend a “welcome back” event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Elliott Elementary, 225 South 25th Street. At 5:30, the Mayor will cut the ribbon for a new student pick-up and drop-off area. To alleviate safety concerns, Elliott parents worked with the City’s Urban Development, Public Works and Parks and Recreation Departments to re-pave a two-block area of 24th Street west of the school.
This area will be gated and used only by parents to drop off and pick up their children. Elliott is also promoting its “walking school bus” program, which began last year. Parent volunteers walk to school, picking up students on the “bus” along the way.
“Getting children to and from school safely is primarily a parental responsibility, and all parents are encouraged to participate in ‘Safe Walk and Safe Ride to School Night,’ said Mayor Seng. “We also need the support and cooperation from motorists, schools, city officials and our community.”
Recommended walking routes, one-way pick-up and drop-off maps and safety tips are available from school principals. All drivers are asked to pay extra special attention to the increased pedestrian traffic around school areas.
The Lincoln Police Department has a “no tolerance” policy for enforcing the 25 m.p.h. school speed zones. About six years ago, the City Council passed an ordinance that doubled fines for speeding in school speed zones. The fines (not including court costs) for speeding in a 25 m.p.h. school speed zone are: