Slowing down through school zones

West St. Paul Citizens on Patrol Program volunteers operate the Speed Watch program along Highway 9 in front of West St. Paul School on June 4. (Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network) Brook Jones / Selkirk Journal

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School-zone speed limits were back in effect beginning Sept. 1 and West St Paul Citizens On Patrol coordinator Detlef Hindemith is reminding motorist to slow down to 50 KM/HR at the reduced speed zone in front of West St. Paul School.

The local school, which has students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 is located in a high traffic section of Highway 9/Main Street.

During October members of West St Paul C.O.P.P will be monitoring a radar speed reader board on Main Street, to displaying motorist’s speed.

Hindemith explained how this is intended as a reminder for motorists to slow down during the school-zone from Monday to Fridays between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hindemith said it’s not uncommon for motorist to forget about the reduced speed zone as it is not in effect during the summer months of July and August.

According to Hindemith, on Sept. 14 between 10 a.m. and noon approximately 701 vehicles passed through the monitored speed zone. He said that as many as 187 vehicles travelled at speeds between 51 – 60 km/hr. Fifteen motorists were tracked driving at speeds of 60 to 72 km.

Hindemith said he was surprised to see that many motorists driving over the posted speed limit and is was also disturbed to learn four vehicles drove through the red light. That’s most alarming to him as a number of parents are walking with their children and cross at that controlled intersection. He noted that this is the only location in the area with a traffic light in this high traffic area.

“Had a child been crossing during this time the outcome of the collision could have been tragic,” Hindemith said. “The speed reader board is a proven effective tool in reducing speeds.”

Hindemith explained if you exceed the set speed limit, the reader board unit goes into a highly visible rapid flash mode and continues until the driver is within the posted speed limit.

“We see many motorists braking as the displayed speed starts flashing. The objective of setting up the reader board is educational, serving as a reminder for motorists to slow down in school zones,” Hindemith added.