Earlier this year, the city purchased and installed eight speed feedback signs near schools to remind drivers of reduced speed limits in school zones. Signs have been posted near Gehringer Elementary, Vintage Parkway Elementary, Freedom High School, Orchard Park School, and between Delta Vista Middle School and Iron House Elementary, which are neighbors on Frank Hengel Way. These signs flash when a driver exceeds the school zone speed limit of 25 miles per hour.
City Manager Bryan Montgomery issued a memo stating that the signs have been well received by the community and provide an important warning to drivers to slow down in the school zones.
Oakley Superintendent Rick Rogers expressed support of the signs. “Any measures taken to improve the safety of our students is a good thing,” Rogers said. “People get impatient sometimes when they enter a school zone in the morning or the afternoon and see all of the traffic. Hopefully, these signs will remind drivers to have some patience and take their time while passing through the school zones.”
The city also purchased three high-tech speed radar feedback signs that are so advanced the devices will relay information in real time back to computers at City Hall.
“The high-tech signs will be installed within the next week,” said Assistant City Engineer Allen Bourgeois. “These signs monitor speed and keep track of the number of vehicles that pass through the area. Since these signs are more advanced, we can program them with a message that specifically tells drivers to ‘slow down’ if they exceed the speed limit rather than just flash the recorded speed.”
Bourgeois said the data from the signs would help track the flow of traffic in targeted areas. Two signs posted on Laurel Road near the Highway 4 Bypass on and off ramps allow Bourgeois to track how many drivers use the Bypass to enter and leave Oakley. A third high-tech sign will be installed on northbound Empire Avenue near Hemlock Drive, another high traffic area, according to Bourgeois.
The discussion of adding radar feedback signs throughout the city came up earlier this year during the city’s annual strategic planning meeting. It was agreed by the City Council and city staff that the signs might help drivers be more aware of their speed, resulting in slower traffic in neighborhoods and school zones.
The basic radar signs cost $1,800 apiece; the high-tech signs approximately $8,000 apiece, according to Montgomery. Bourgeois said once the high-tech signs have been installed this month, he’ll monitor the data to assess the signs’ effectiveness and propose the purchase of additional signs if needed.