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ACHD to add school zone flashers at six Treasure Valley school crosswalks

Photo: Image by Ada County Highway District

ACHD to add school zone flashers at six Treasure Valley school crosswalks

By On Your Side Newsroom. CREATED Aug 11, 2014

It’s back-to-school time -- and the Ada County Highway District says it will be adding school zone flashers at six locations throughout the county to increase safety.

The flashers will be located at:

• McMillan Road and Red Horse Way, Meridian
• Red Horse Way and Havasupai Street, Meridian
• Milwaukee Street and Goddard Road, Boise
• Cloverdale Road and Muir Ridge Drive, Boise
• School Avenue and Ten Letter Court, Kuna
• Sea Breeze Way and Mossywood Drive, Boise

“The locations all had crosswalks, but the addition of the flashing beacons will create a safer environment than the static signs advising motorists to ‘Slow to 20 mph when children are present.’ The new signs say to ‘Slow to 20 mph when flashing’ and are accompanied by a pedestrian signal with two alternating amber lights. The combination will be a stronger visual aid to drivers, help better define the speed zone and help with driver compliance,” said ACHD spokesperson Nicole Pineda.

“The school zone flashers will be a great addition to the crosswalks at these locations,” said ACHD director Bruce Wong. “The flashing lights demand the driver’s attention, and help take some of the guess work out of whether “there are children present” or not.”

“Two of the six crosswalks (McMillan & Red Horse and Cloverdale & Muir Ridge) are already considered “enhanced,” meaning a pedestrian can hit a button to cross the street, and the traffic signals will bring traffic to a complete stop. The new beacons will ensure that traffic is going even slower when student activity is the greatest,” Pineda added.

Crews are working to ensure that the new crosswalk enhancements will be ready before school starts. Installation is expected to be complete by August 15.

This will give ACHD technicians about a week to make sure the signals are operational and adjust the timing according to the needs of the schools in each area.

The flashers are generally activated twice a day for approximately one hour each time, depending on what times children will be walking to school, Pineda stated.

How do particular crosswalks get selected for the improvements? ACHD says it receives requests from schools, neighborhoods and private citizens. Traffic engineers investigate and prioritize the requests based on criteria such as what kind of school the crosswalk is servicing (high school or an elementary school), how many children use the crosswalk, how much traffic is on the street, and vehicle speed in the area.