Opinion: Glenwood Should Have School Zones

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Gordon Tuomikoski

The flashing 25 mph speed sign out front of the High School on Eastern Sharp Street.

Gordon Tuomikoski, Features and Photography Editor

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve driven miserably slow down Sharp Street in front of the high school on weekends. Driving 25 mph takes an eternity when there is no traffic. It’s time to raise this ridiculous speed limit during off-school hours.

If you’ve ever driven by a school in Omaha, you may notice signs posted that say ‘Speed Limit 25 when children are present,’ ‘Speed Limit 25 during school days (hour-to-hour), or a flashing light signaling a school zone while the regular speed limit is 35 mph if it doesn’t fit any of these criteria. These signs work, and violations can still lead to a ticket as usual. The real question is, why doesn’t Glenwood have these signs?

According to the Iowa DOT, a school zone is activated during a specific time before and after school and will have a light flash when in effect. The light is akin to a railroad crossing light and is usually followed by a 10 mph reduction in speed from 35 to 25 mph. This can be found in many other towns, but they are completely absent in Glenwood. There is a flashing light by the tennis courts, but it’s merely to alert people that it’s a 25 mph zone. It never changes or raises the speed limit in situations.

There is inconclusive data on the effectiveness of school zone signs, but my theory is that we could have the speed limit set to 35 mph during off-school hours, on weekends and during school breaks. During school hours we would have the flashing school zone light. If drivers speed over this temporary 25 mph speed limit, they can be pulled over by the usual police speed trap across the street from the Glenwood Lake Park.

Conclusively, I think this new signage in front of the high school or even the middle school would overall increase driver satisfaction when school isn’t in session and prevent people from being late at a minimal cost. Driving 25 mph feels like an eternity when a seemingly short stretch of road takes two minutes to travel. There needs to be a faster speed limit when school is not in session. If the rest of the state can have them, why can’t Glenwood?