01/10/06 — New lights planned for crosswalk

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New lights planned for crosswalk

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 10, 2006 1:58 PM

The Wayne County Board of Education voted Monday to support a combined effort with the Goldsboro City Council to pay for flashing lights to alert drivers to the school zone near Greenwood Middle School, where two students were hit by a car two months ago.

Concern over the area of Ash Street has heightened since the accident that sent Carson Thomas and Mackenzie Wessel to the hospital in early December, making it the topic of discussion at the recent Wayne County Transportation Committee meeting, school board member Pete Gurley said.

"The base had indicated that additional traffic lights be installed," he said. The matter had been investigated and the cost to install flashing lights was estimated at $5,000.

It had also been suggested that the expense be divided and shared by the City Council and Board of Education, he said.

The school board unanimously approved Gurley's motion to pay half of the amount needed for the project.

Nancy Mayo, liaison between Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the school system, said the flashing signs would be at both ends of the school zone area.

At their work session Monday, the City Council discussed the installation of the flashing lights. Although no vote was taken, all agreed that if the school board voted to pay for half of the project, the city would gladly match the board's payment.

School board member Thelma Smith also made the suggestion that the school system consider using a crossing guard to escort students safely across the busy intersection between the base and the school.

Gurley said at the transportation meeting, another idea mentioned was an overhead walkway for students.

Councilmen said they would like to see whether an overhead walkway might work across Ash Street. To this end, they suggested the city conduct a survey to examine the potential for the feature, which many said was important for protecting school children at Greenwood and Meadow Lane Elementary schools.

Sprunt Hill, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services, said the flashing lights could be effective reminders regardless of whether school is in session.

"We need to still remind the traffic to observe the speed limit. Even in the summer, (we) still need to make sure that they're aware that we have kids crossing," he said.