Cape to install traffic beacons in school zones

Friday, July 6, 2007

A $102,919 federal grant will allow the city of Cape Girardeau to install flashing beacons and signs to warn motorists to slow down in front of schools, city officials said Friday.

The Missouri Department of Transportation awarded the grant as part of the Safe Routes to School program. The program is designed to encourage children to walk or ride their bicycles to school.

In addition to promoting an active lifestyle, walking and riding bicycles can reduce traffic and air pollution around schools, officials said.

Cape Girardeau's project is one of 46 statewide to receive funding through the grant program, MoDOT officials said.

The city currently has signs in front of schools advising motorists to obey a 20 mile per hour speed limit from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. when schools are in session .

But Kelly Green, traffic operations engineer in the city's public works department, said flashing yellow beacons are a better option.

"Some people don't know when schools are in session," she said.

The solar-powered beacons will signal motorists with flashing yellow lights.

In addition, the beacons can be programed by computer to flash during special occasions, Green said.

"We have four years to spend the money," she said.

But she said the goal is to install the beacons and school zone signs over the course of the next school year.

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