This second article on school safety deals with the new signal lights at the intersection of Kossuth and Highway 34 and the one-way traffic at East Elementary.
The intersection of Kossuth and Highway 34 has been the focus of lots of study and discussion by city staff, school staff and the Iowa Department of Transportation. The goal of the discussion was to make this intersection as safe as possible. The city provided leadership and facilitated the discussion. The decision of what would happen to this intersection was ultimately the Iowa Department of Transportation’s as they own Highway 34 and control the highway and the cross streets.
There are two new things at the intersection: One is the reduced 25mph speed limit that is in place when the caution lights are flashing, second, is the new flashing lights themselves.
The reduced speed limit is in place only when the lights are flashing. The lights flash twice daily from 7:30 a.m., to 8:00 a.m., then again from 2:30 p.m., to 3:30 p.m. The lights are also programmed to flash at appropriate times for scheduled early outs and to not flash for scheduled no school days. The lights have the ability to be manually operated to allow for early out days due to weather. Of course, they will operate as a normal cross walk light if the button on the post is activated. What isn’t new this year are the portable flashing stop signs that will be in the middle of Highway 34 and the crossing guards who will assist children across the highway and have the handheld stop signs.
East Elementary has had in place for some time a one-way street designation that goes into effect at noon and ends at 4:30 p.m., on school days only. This is has been done to assist with the heavy traffic that occurs at school dismissal time. If followed by everyone it works quite well.
At noon on every school day East Jefferson Street becomes a one-way street for west bound traffic only and reverts to a two-way street at 4:30 p.m., each day. Again this only occurs on school days and begins at noon and ends at 4:30 p.m.