County to Bolster Traffic Safety at Local Schools

A number of traffic safety tools will begin to be put in place within the next week to ensure that students and parents at Hope Elementary 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.”

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.

Hope Elementary School, just south of Porterville, is located on Teapot Dome Avenue in between Highway 65 and Orange Belt Drive. All three of these roads are heavily used by motorists, especially large trucks hauling freight.

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.”

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.
-    Two school crosswalk signs with rectangular rapid flashing beacons.
-    A freshly painted enhanced crosswalk.

“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.”

More than $21,000 in Measure R Pedestrian and Bike Funds are being used to pay for this 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.