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Traffic lights to begin signalling the presence of students
new Deh school zone signal pic
Great Bend Street Superintendent Mike Crawford adjusts the flashing light in a school zone near Jefferson Elementary School Friday morning. The lights will go on Friday afternoon for a test, and then will go on and be enforced starting next week for many Great Bend schools. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

School zones
According to Great Bend Street Superintendent Mike Crawford, the times school zone lights will flash are as follows:
• Unified School District 428 lights will start flashing Monday, Aug. 18, when school starts – 7:30-8:05 a.m., and on at 3-3:30 p.m. This includes Great Bend High School, Great Bend Middle School, and Eisenhower, Jefferson and Lincoln, Park elementary schools.
However, there are exceptions.
• At Washington Early Childhood Education Center, lights will come one from 7:30-8:05 a.m., mid morning, from 11:20-11:50  a.m. and 3-3:30 p.m.
As for private schools:
• Holy Family School (classes start Thursday, Aug. 22) – 7:40-8:25 a.m. and 3:15-3:45 p.m.
• Central Kansas Christian Academy (classes start Thursday, Aug. 22) – 7:40-8:25 a.m., on at 3:15-3:45 p.m.  
Crawford said all the lights will be turned on as a test this Friday just during the afternoon time frame. They will run as they will next week, but special school zone speeds will not be enforced.
Officials just want motorists to be used to seeing the lights flashing before crunch time Monday.

 Safe Walking Tips:
• Children should cross the street with an adult until age 10.
• Choose the safest route and walk it with children. Look for the most direct route with the fewest street crossings. Children should take the same route every day and avoid shortcuts.
• Teach children to recognize and obey all traffic signals and markings.
• Make sure children look in all directions before crossing the street. If a vehicle is approaching, wave and make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street.
• Teach children to cross the street at a corner or crosswalk, never from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs.
• Warn children to be extra alert in bad weather. Visibility might be poor and motorists might not be able to see them or stop quickly.
• Consider starting or participating in any existing Walking School Bus programs.  Ask your school if they have a program.  For more information about how a Walking School Bus works, visit
• Talk to your teens about distractions. Cell phone use, whether texting, talking, or listening to music with headphones, can distract a pedestrian from seeing or hearing oncoming vehicles.
• Be a good role model. Children need you to not only tell them, but also show them how to be safe pedestrians.
 For more information about pedestrian safety, call Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-1223 or 785-296-0351, or visit

Flashing yellow lights around town herald the start of another academic year. It also signals that drivers to be aware children could be crossing the streets in those school zones.
Beginning Monday, Aug. 18, some of the lighted school zone warning signals will be turned on as many of the schools in Great Bend open  their 2014-2015 school year.
“The 20-mile-per-hour speed limit is in force whenever those lights are flashing,” said Lt. Bill Browne of the Great Bend Police Department. This is regardless of what the normal limit is for the area.
Speeding and any other traffic violation in a school zone are also more expensive. Any fines are doubled.
“We are going to try to have officer posted in those areas,” Browne said, adding they will give motorists a week or two to get used to the change by giving some warning tickets. “This is about the kids. We want people to watch for the zones for safety’s sake.”
With the increased foot and bicycle use from the students, the areas around schools can get crowded. They can also get packed with vehicles as parents drop off and pick up youngsters.
On that note, Browne said those transporting kids to and from school must legally park before anyone may exit the car. “We are working with the schools on this.”
Again, this goes back to safety. This helps avoid having the children darting in and out of traffic.
Parents also need to know where they can park. In addition, some schools have one-way access.
The reduced speeds allow drivers more time to react.
He also reminds students to watch for traffic and to utilize crosswalks. Crossing guards will again be on duty.
After tracking how long it took the school areas to clear out before and after classes, Browne said the school zone times were adjusted. The times are the same as last year.