Crossing lights at Holy Family School to be installed before start of school year

When crossing lights are installed on Maple Avenue, next to Holy Family School, they will not be the lights that have stood for years at a school crossing on Broadway Extension in Hannibal.

According to Edie Price of the city's Department of Public Works, in the near future the city will choose between three crossing light options presented it by the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW). Once the lights are ordered and delivered they will be installed by HBPW personnel, added Price. It is hoped that the installation will be completed in the next couple of months, before the start of the next school year.

Consideration had been given to relocating the crosswalk lights that are currently in place on Broadway Extension, between South Hawkins Avenue and Lamb Avenue. However, when a representative of the Street Department contacted Mark Twain Elementary School regarding the use of those crossing lights it was discovered that a handful of students who attend the school live south of Broadway Extension and could possibly still be using the crosswalk lights to cross the busy street safely on their way to and from school.

The decision to install crosswalk lights on Maple Avenue was reached in April by members of the Traffic Committee during a meeting with representatives of Holy Family School. In choosing to install crossing lights the Traffic Committee scrapped a plan adopted in late 2017 that would have seen gates installed at multiple spots on Maple Avenue by the school. Those gates would have been the responsibility of the school to open and close as needed during the course of a school day.

"They (gates) would have created a lot of 'moving parts' and may not have passed the test of time," said Jeff LaGarce, city manager, during a Traffic Committee meeting in April.

LaGarce's main objection to the installation of gates was how long it would take before they were damaged by a motorist.

"I'm afraid the gates would be busted by June, and then what would we do?" asked the city manager.

Even though the Broadway Extension crossing lights are no longer deemed an option for use on Maple Avenue, LaGarce believes purchasing new crosswalk lights still makes fiscal sense.

"I would rather spend $30,000 on lights than $8,000 (periodically) on gates," he said earlier this spring.

The city's safety efforts around Holy Family School will not stop with the installation of crossing lights, which will look like regular traffic signals but can be activated to go red at the push of a button. Signage will be installed on Church Street, a westbound one-way thoroughfare, in an effort to inform motorists that they are entering a school zone, particularly those intending to turn on to Maple Avenue.

To stop motorists on Maple Avenue when the crosswalk was in use by students the school has relied on teacher crossing guards, holding stop signs.

 

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com