Kent police beefing up safety in school speed zones

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 25, 2011 at 6:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 25 at 9:00 AM

KENT, Wash. -- The walk to school may be a little safer this year for some Kent students. That's because Kent police are making improvements to school crosswalks, just in time for classes to start.

Signs in school zones already tell drivers to slow down to 20 miles per hour. But the signs alone aren't enough, say police. They're adding new flashing lights on the signs to grab drivers' attention.

Ten of 28 Kent elementary schools already have the lights, but new lights are being set up in areas where there's a problem with drivers going too fast.

Police will be adding lights to intersections and crosswalks at three more elementary schools - Kent, Scenic Hill and Meadow Ridge - sometime next week.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is providing funding to schools across the state with the goal of installing new flashing lights at 100% of elementary schools within the next few years. Turns out, only 85% of elementary schools in Washington have them.

Parents and after school program leaders in Kent say they need a new way to get drivers to pay attention.

"The intersections that do not have the signs currently, even when kids are walking around, people are going over the speed limit," said Sgt. Eric Hemmen, Kent Police Department.

The Kent School District says one reason they're becoming more concerned with child safety is that the district expects a lot of new students from other countries who are not familiar with safety laws at the crosswalks.

If you want to know whether your school district could see more safety improvements, go to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission website.



 

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