Drivers seeing changes at school crosswalks

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WICHITA, Kansas – The walk to school hasn’t quite been the same this school year.

The speed limit is the same, but those flashing caution lights before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m are quickly disappearing leaving the flow of traffic at the hands of the parents and guardians.

The lights only go on when the button is pushed.

“It notifies the driver that there will be a pedestrian crossing when it is flashing instead of just flashing everyday all the time,” said Paul Gunzelman, traffic engineer.

Around this time last year, the city decided to try out the system converting nearly five crosswalks into on demands.

“We had positive responses both from the traveling public.”

The positive response led to more than 90 on-demand crosswalks by the end of summer 2013.

That’s 80 percent of the crosswalks through out the city and in school zones.

The city believes that the changes will be  safer for both children and the drivers.

The city also believes this will increase safety for people crossing at other times of day, when the school-zone signals aren’t normally activated.

“We feel it is safer for the students because drivers aren’t being complacent to them when they drive by everyday,” said Gunzelman.

The new system can also be credited with reducing emissions and pollution because fewer vehicles have to brake and accelerate.

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