Slow down for that flashing yellow light

The air is growing colder, the leaves browner and the days shorter. And with that comes the morning and afternoon hustle of kids getting on and off buses, crossing streets and swarming around schools across the city.

And with that, Sgt. Dale Schuster said, comes the possibility of speeding tickets. The Port Orchard Police Department hands out hundreds of speeding tickets every year, and are doubly concerned with lead-footed drivers at the beginning of the school year, when roads around school properties drop to a 20-mph limit in the mornings and afternoons.

The signs are posted, but many, even teachers and parents, Schuster said, don’t see the warnings, and end up with a hefty fine.

Speeding in a school zone can earn the driver a penalty between $185 and $784, depending on the speed.

But the Port Orchard Police Department is offering an extra reminder for drivers around Orchard Heights Junior High and Sidney Glen Elementary, and area where Schuster sees many drivers exceeding the limit.

The department acquired a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission for two flashing yellow lights to be installed at the schools located along Sidney and Pottery by State Route 16. The lights serve as an attention-getting reminder for drivers to slow down during the start and end of the school day.

The lights are connected to a timer, which will turn the lights on during reduced-speed times.

Port Orchard was on of nearly 200 recipients of $1.3 million in grant money from the commission for that very purpose.

The grants were meant for school zones at the elementary grade level, but Schuster was able to acquire lights for Sidney Glen and Cedar Heights because of their close proximity.

Nothing will change for drivers caught speeding in the area. The penalties remain the same. The lights just serve as an extra reminder to pay attention to the speed limit.

The installation, provided by Port Orchard Public Works, coincides with an increase of officers watching school zones

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