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City looks at creating speed zone by Challenger Middle

By Staff | Apr 19, 2010

Challenger Middle School Principal Teri Cannady wants traffic to slow down in front of her school.
Challenger is one of, if not the only, school in Cape Coral without a speed zone to slow down passing traffic, according to Cannady.
She said her school desperately needs the speed zone because the safety of her students is at risk, especially those kids who walk to and from school.
“I don’t understand why it’s an issue for Challenger Middle to have a speed zone,” Cannady said.
Council previously approved the speed zone in November 2009.
Reports from city staff indicated that the area in front of the school was not conducive to a speed zone.
According to the summary from staff dated April 6, 2010, the “Installation of inappropriate school speed zones may cause safety problems affecting vehicular traffic and potentially adjacent pedestrians.”
The summary also indicates that speed zones would require, by law, the installation of signs with flashing lights at the cost of $100,000 to $125,000.
City Transportation Director Steve Neff told council that speed zones might cause accidents to increase, and lure pedestrians into a false sense of security.
“We care about safety … but inappropriate installations may cause safety problems,” Neff said. “Some drivers going fast and some going slow may be a bad recipe and cause accidents.”
Dr. Rashad Hanbali, a city traffic engineer, warned council that a sudden change in speed may also cause drivers to inadvertently break the speed limit and rack up numerous speeding violations.
“You’re going to see many drivers violating the speed limit in the speed zone,” he said.
With council already having decided to move the forward with the speed zone, Monday’s workshop was more informational than anything else.
City Council members wondered what the potential litigation could be creating a speed zone, but the safety of the students at Challenger Middle School won out above everything else.
“Let the tickets roll. Believe me, they’ll get the idea real quick,” Mayor John Sullivan said about potential speeders.
Council member Derrick Donnell questioned why the topic was being discussed.
“It cannot hurt us as a community to slow this down,” Donnell said. “Let’s get this done for our children.”
Cannday said time spent in the council’s chambers was time that could have been spent at home working on her student’s education.
“I’d rather be working on curriculum,” she said.