Hampton school officials working to create safer school zones

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Hampton Township School District officials are moving forward with a plan to create school zones and reduced speed limits at three buildings, but they still are looking at other potential options to slow traffic on McCully Road.

On Oct. 14, the school board approved the plan for school-zone signs prepared by The Gateway Engineers Inc. of Pittsburgh, which would install school-zone and reduced-speed-limit signs at Poff and Wyland elementary schools and along McCully Road, near Hampton High School, if approved by PennDOT and the township council.

The plan is the result of months of research and discussion after parents came to a board meeting in June to question pedestrian safety along McCully Road.

School board members had moved forward with the plan to install the school-zone speed-limit signs after initial cost estimates to install flashing school-zone lights totaled about $20,000 per school.

The cost to purchase and install all of the necessary signs at the three schools is about $5,000.

The signs would replace current signs at Poff and Wyland schools that are not in compliance with state regulations or are deteriorating and establish a school zone and reduced-speed-limit zone along McCully Road.

However, Robert Shages, a school board member, said he questions the cost estimate for the flashing signs because his research showed a solar-powered flashing school-zone sign might cost closer to $2,000.

He said he wants more information on that option.

He is waiting for one company to send him more information about costs where the signs currently are installed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Other school board members said they would be interested in reviewing Shages' research and cost estimates as another option.

“I think I'd like to see (more information),” said Gail Litwiler, a school board member. “It might be one option to consider for McCully Road. I think we can agree the other two locations do not warrant flashing signs.”

There are 15 students who walk to school at Poff Elementary, 12 students at Wyland Elementary and 16 students who walk to Hampton High School.

However, after the school district sent letters offering bus service to all of the families with students who walk to school, seven high school students now are riding a bus.

The school board will vote to approve the installation in the coming months after approval from PennDOT and the township.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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