OUR VIEWS: Good moves in clearing confusing school signs

Sep 11, 2012

To motorists, it means to slow down and drive even more defensively.

To parents, it means having talks with their children about safety as they travel to and from school.

And to schools and area public safety officials, it means having the proper signs around schools and using them wisely.

Having the “Stop for Pedestrian” signs in the center of city streets in school neighborhoods last school year wasn’t a good idea. To make matters worse, the signs were even left standing during the summer months —which not only didn’t make sense, but took away their effectiveness once school opened.

On more than one occasion this summer, we saw motorists slam on their brakes as they approached one of these signs when it wasn’t necessary to stop. Other motorists simply began to ignore the signs, a habit which could very well carry over once school began.

While most school signs in the area have been switched to say "Yield," at least one in Spring Lake Village still says "Stop." This could lead to confusion for motorists used to seeing one sign or the other. There should be consistency among the schools and signs to make sure an accident doesn't occur.

There has also been a signage problem at some schools located in the township when the speed limit is reduced during certain specific hours of the school day.

Rosy Mound Elementary School on Lakeshore Drive is one of these trouble spots. Coming from the south, a motorist unfamiliar with the area would just about have to come to a complete stop to read the wordy sign that told them what three times of the day the speed limit dropped from 45 mph to 35 mph.

Schools in many other districts located in rural areas where speed limits are reduced at certain times are topped with flashing yellow lights, signaling the school-zone speed is in effect.

The Grand Haven Area Public Schools district has agreed to pay a portion of the cost for such lights at Rosy Mound, but the Ottawa County Road Commission has vetoed the idea. The Road Commission believes it is unnecessary and too costly.

We feel the flashing yellow light would be well worth the cost, and would greatly enhance the effectiveness of the school zone.

Motorists are also reminded that flashing yellow lights on school buses mean that the bus is slowing down to stop, and drivers should do likewise. Flashing red lights mean stop behind or in front of the bus until the red lights are terminated.

Let’s all work together to have a safe school year.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

GHParent

I noticed the other day that the sign by Peach Plains states the slow down time in the am is 8:45. School now starts at 8:40 am. Updating the signs with new times may be a good idea. Also with the new delayed starts periodically throughout the year won't show, half days either. The flashing yellow seems like a more flexible solution. The cost could be split 3 ways with OCRC, GHAPS & the corresponding local government. The three groups of entities should sit down together & come up with a solution that works for everyone.

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