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School zones ahead
Traffic lights to begin signalling the presence of students
new deh school zones pic web
Great Bend Street Department personnel test the school zone light on Williams by Park Elementary School Friday morning. The city is gearing up for the start of school. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Here are the school zone signal times for Great Bend schools:

• USD 428  

7:30 a.m. on - 8:05 a.m. off

3 p.m. on - 3:30 p.m. off

• Holy Family

7:30 a.m. on - 8:05 a.m. off

3:15 p.m. on - 3:45 p.m. off

• Central Kansas Christian Academy

7:40 a.m. on - 8:25 a.m. off

3 p.m. on - 3:45 p.m. off

 Flashing yellow lights around town signal the start of the new school year. They also signal for drivers to be aware children could be crossing the streets in those school zones. 

Beginning Monday, Aug. 17, some of the lighted school zone warning signals will be turned on as many of the Unified School District 428 schools and Central Kansas Christian Academy in Great Bend open their 2016-2017 school year. For Holy Family School, the opening day is Aug. 24.

“The lights are programmed right now to come on those mornings,” said Mike Crawford, Great Bend street superintendent. 

“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, with additional fines assessed, he said.

“We are going to try to have officers 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. “That causes tremendous traffic congestion for us.”

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.