The City of Great Bend and Unified School District 428 are teaming up to bolster safety around Great Bend Middle School. City Administrator Kendal Francis told the City Council Monday night that the efforts followed meetings between city and district officials.
“We are asking residents and parents to help us with this,” Francis said. “We are working with the school to ease the situation.”
In addition to more enforcement and improvements in the area, USD 428 will send out letters to families reminding them of the traffic regulations applicable in the area.
First, Francis said the city will upgrade lighting around the school which sits at Harrison and 19th streets. This will make it brighter in the morning for students.
Next, he said he’s asked Police Chief David Bailey to have his officers step up enforcement of the existing ordinance prohibiting J-turns. This is the practice of turning across traffic to park on the other side of the street.
Also more strictly governed will be the no-parking zones near GBMS. There is no parking allowed along the east side of Harrison across from the school between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“I understand the congestion, but it is against city ordinances for a reason,” Francis said. This will be an issue when kids are being dropped off and picked up from school.
School zone speed limits will be monitored more closely as well, Francis said. “People speed through there and the school is very concerned.”
In school zones during the posted times, speed limits are 20 miles per hour. There are flashing yellow lights at the Middle School, but they may be upgraded.
“We are not looking to be punitive,” Francis said, adding officers will issue warnings at first. “We just want to err on the side of safety.”
In addition, the Public Works Department will upgrade the crosswalks to make them more visible, Francis said.
However, officials also urged kids to be more careful and alert, lessons their parents can instill in them.