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Signage will improve traffic safety at Hope School
Measure R funds pay for warning lights
Parents of students attending Hope School on West Teapot Dome Avenue will be pleased to know that some measures are coming soon to make the school safer.
This week, Tulare County officials began to install traffic tools to ensure that students and parents at the rural school are safe when crossing a heavily used unincorporated road.
“Public safety is the Board of Supervisors number one priority,” said Mike Ennis, 5th District county supervisor who represents the Porterville and surrounding communities. “Installing traffic safety measures is just one way Tulare County strives to meet that goal. We want our children to be as safe as possible at all costs.”
Tulare County Resource Management Agency Chief Engineer Bruce Webber said staff will install two school zone speed limit signs with radar vehicle speed feedback just east and west of the school and two school crosswalk signs with rectangular rapid flashing beacons.
Workers will also enhance the crosswalk.
Parents say the safety measures are desperately needed.
“Cars are flying by here when I drop off and pick up my child. “There is no cross walk,” said parent Tracie Dearing, who explained the crosswalk was never repainted after the roadway was repaved.
“This road (Teapot Dome) is really unsafe specially for a school zone,” added the mother of Hunter Gulseth, a second grader at the school.
Art St. Germain, who has two students at the school, said traffic moves by the tiny school that sits on Teapot Dome between Highway 65 and Orange Belt Drive.
“It’s a headache, long lines, and it takes about 20 minutes to pick up the kids, unless if you show up half hour early,” said St. Germain.
The road is heavily traveled and used by both passenger cars and large trucks.
“I see gravel trucks doing about 50 mph on this road,” said Mike Riley of Terra Bella who has three children at the school. “I’ve pulled out my truck in traffic lanes to slow down speeding cars.”
Hope Elementary School Superintendent Deborah McCaskill said she is pleased that the County is addressing this public safety concern.
“Ensuring the safety of our students, staff, and family members is a top priority for our school district, and one that is by those that we work with at the County level,” McCaskill said. “We are very grateful for the hard work that was put into securing this project and certainly for the Measure R funds that will be used to provide a much needed crosswalk and safe access for our entire school community,” she stated in a county press release.
“School officials have expressed concerns in the past about speeding in this area,” Webber said. “In response, Tulare County wants to ensure that we make it as safe as possible to pedestrians. What we will install is a proactive public safety measure.”
County officials say the Hope Elementary School project is just one of four road safety projects that will be implemented near schools in the unincorporated areas in the next few months.
More than $21,000 in Measure R Pedestrian and Bike Funds are being used to pay for the project. Measure R is a half-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2006. An additional $22,000 of those same Measure R funds will be used to fund similar projects near Palo Verde Elementary School in Tulare and Kings River Elementary School in Kingsburg. John J. Doyle School in east Porterville will also receive traffic safety improvements through Safe Routes to School funding.