New Hope obtained a $31,200 SRTS grant in 2007 from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to help slow down vehicle traffic around its Sunny Hollow Elementary School and also to develop an education program for students at the school. The school has 517 students, and few walk or bicycle to school due to challenges created by busy roads, said Eric Weiss, Community Development Assistant for New-Hope.
The $28,200 portion of the SRTS grant the city received will be used for infrastructure to purchase and install three solarpowered driver feedback signs.
“They’re big and they flash,” Weiss said, and he hopes the high visibility will remind drivers to slow speeds. The signs are environmentally friendly and low maintenance, he added. The flashing feedback signs will be posted near the current speed limit signs that set speeds at 25 miles per hour during school hours. Non-school hour speeds are 35 miles per hour, and a hill on the road reduces visibility near the school. The new signage is designed to grab motorists’ attention and remind them to slow down if they’ve gotten in the habit of going too fast when school is not in session. The other $3,000 portion of the grant will rejuvenate past educational programming about bicycling and walking safely and also bolster programs that are in place in the school, Weiss said, because school and city officials want children to know how to be safer when walking and bicycling.
Officials hope that the combination of the two approaches will make the roads safer for both students and others in the vicinity, including those who visit a park that is next to the school. The city has plans to resubmit a grant application for Meadow Lake Elementary School on the north side of town, which has a busy four-way stop where drivers sometimes do not come to a complete stop and instead roll past stop signs. Officials plan to seek SRTS funding for installation of flashing lights there.
Community Development Assistant.
New Hope, Minnesota