Blinker Beacons eyed for Husky Trail

("School Sign" by inspirekelly, CC BY 2.0)

To improve pedestrian safety along Husky Trail, the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety Friday approved a memorandum of understanding with Warsaw Community Schools for two Blinker Beacon signs.

The city will pay half of the $11,846 cost of the signs/lights, with WCS paying the other half.

Mayor Joe Thallemer said the signs will delineate the school zones. They are solar powered and have speed boards on them. The city will erect them once they are delivered. Since they must be built to the desired specifications, it will be four to six weeks before they’re delivered. The city’s share will come out of the street department’s funds, he said.

The Warsaw Traffic Commission has been studying the pedestrian safety along Husky Trail since 8-year-old Gideon Cook was killed June 10 while crossing Husky Trail at North Pointe Drive. At one of its previous meetings, the signs were presented as an option to the Traffic Commission to improve the safety along Husky Trail.

While the city and WCS are splitting the cost of the signs, Thallemer said WCS will maintain the signs as far as when they’re in operation.

Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler said, “So part of this contract we have with Tapco, if they end up providing signs to us, is for an annual network fee for maintenance of those signs. And (WCS will) be able to sit at home or wherever they’re at and either delay or accelerate or whatever they need to do schedule-wise for the school signs. So if they have a fog delay, they can adjust the timings of when they’re flash or not.”

He said one of the fears whenever a new traffic control device is put up is that people will become number to it if it’s consistently running.

“So we will want it to be effective only during those times in which we need it. That way it draws people’s attention. We don’t want them seeing it all the time,” Beeler said.

If WCS decides to go with the program for the first year and then beyond, he said WCS will be able to control when and how those signs go off.

Thallemer said, “So let’s again be clear. These are two lines that are delineating the school zone. This is not the crosswalk sign.  This is the two signs that warn motorists that they are entering a school zone and they will blink during those drop-off times at the beginning of the school day and at the end of the school day.”

He said, “This is an example of the schools working with the city to come up with one of the solutions.”

The frequency on the crosswalk sign has been adjusted, and the city and WCS are working through several things, he said.

“This is one good example of a safety fix that is being implemented,” Thallemer said. “There are speed boards on there, so folks also know what their speeds are.”

Beeler said it’s up to WCS to decide how long and often it wants to activate the speed boards.

Thallemer said getting the signs has taken a little longer than they wanted, but thanked Beeler for staying on top of it.

These are two models being considered to be put outside of Harrison Elementary School.