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City Making School Zone Safety Improvements

Updated: Friday, August 23 2013, 07:17 AM CDT
No cell phone use, 20 miles per hour, when flashing: those are the rules on the school zone signs around Austin, but the problem last year: the signals  at three dozen campuses weren't on the first day of school last year.

On Friday morning, the city hopes by testing their 380 signals citywide and having school staff confirm they work, they’ll avoid a repeat.

"It was a new system, and it just malfunctioned," said Chris Moore, Community Services Program Manager for the City of Austin's Department of Public Works. "And lesson learned: Test ahead of time, which we've done in previous years, it was just trying to get the new system installed everywhere."

Moore tells us not only have they fixed that software glitch, but right now, they've also been repainting the crosswalks around schools and on Friday afternoon, they'll be finishing up training for crossing guards.

For the first time this year, Moore says they're hiring two walking crossing guards to escort the kids from large apartments to Guerrero-Thompson Elementary, the city's newest school. Moore says the pilot program costs the typical amount for a crossing guard, about $3,500-4,500 per year.
Moore says after one day of testing, there have been no problems with the signals. They say the new system should let them know ASAP when a signal breaks, but if you do see a signal out during school hours, call 3-1-1.

City officials say you won't get a ticket for going over 20 or using your cell phone in the school zones while they're doing these tests, but adds you still need to follow the normal speed limit.City Making School Zone Safety Improvements

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