When it comes to enforcing the city’s traffic ordinances around the Great Bend Middle School, the Great Bend Police Department has only one goal in mind.
“We just want to protect our kids,” Police Chief David Bailey said. His department has stepped up enforcement in the area of Harrison and 19th streets around the school.
“We are issuing warnings now,” he said. “But that will be changing soon.”
In light of this, he wanted to remind residents of safety procedures that should be observed when dropping off or picking up students from the Great Bend Middle School.
Drivers must use the angled parking stalls when using the front entrance to the school to drop off or pick up students, he said. “Please be aware that traffic will be moving south on Harrison while you are parked in the angled parking stalls.”
Drivers are not permitted to stop in the middle of Harrison Street for the purpose of securing passengers, the chief said. Students are not permitted to leave the crosswalk area to walk to a vehicle stopped in the middle of Harrison Street, nor are they permitted to cross the street at any location in the area without using the crosswalk, both under Kansas Standard Traffic Ordinances.
There will be traffic cones placed on the yellow line for the Bus Zone, he said. This is to prevent drivers from pulling directly in front of the Middle School and allow drivers on Harrison Street to see the entire crosswalk for students crossing.
“Drivers that choose to park on the east side of Harrison facing north may do so only in legal areas,” Bailey said. “Drivers are not permitted to stop, stand, or park on the east side of Harrison where the curb is yellow or blocking any private driveway.”
Students are expected to remain in the crosswalk until they have reached the sidewalk on the other side of the roadway. All students must use crosswalks to cross the street.
All other traffic ordinances will be enforced by law enforcement including: speeding (the speed limit is 20 miles per hour from 7:30 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.), doing U-turns, failure to use signals, illegal stopping, illegal parking, impeding traffic, jaywalking, etc.
“We are asking all drivers dropping off and picking up students at the Great Bend Middle School to be aware of the high traffic in the area at certain times and to do your part to ensure the safety of the students,” Bailey said. “Due to the traffic congestion during start and dismissal of school, we recommend arranging a different location to pick up or drop off your child that does not include the front of the school.”
It was at the City Council’s Feb. 4 meeting that city officials announced that the city and Unified School District 428 were teaming up to bolster safety around GBMS. The effort followed meetings between city and district officials.
In addition to more enforcement and improvements in the area, USD 428 sent out letters to families reminding them of the traffic regulations applicable in the are, and posted information on the district’s Skyward internet network for district patrons.
The city is taking steps to improve lighting and crosswalks around the school as well.
Bailey urged those with questions to contact GBMS Principal David Reiser at 620-793-1510 or the Police Department at 620-793-4120.