Last school year, Upper Nyack Elementary PTA formed a safety committee and one of the hot topics was the speed of those traveling down Broadway during school hours.
A little over a year later, they’re now proudly looking upon the two new speed/message board signs on North Broadway near the school.
Clarkstown installed them and officially presented them to the PTA and school on Monday afternoon. Clarkstown Supervisor Alexander J. Gromack, Councilwoman Shirley Lasker and Police Chief Michael Sullivan announced details of new speed board signs, one near Castle Heights Avenue and the other by Birchwood Avenue.
“The cars are not accustomed to slowing down,” said Claire Brownstein, Upper Nyack Elementary parent and a member of the safety committee. “That’s a serious potential threat for the kids, so having this and having Clarkstown pay for this and help from the police department has been incredible.”
“A lot of the schools have them. It’s based on need. Over by Phillips Hill Road, we met with (Woodglen) elementary and put up some signs there … and Congers Elementary (on Lake Road),” said Sullivan. “Typically they have a main road like this and it needs to be given extra attention. Modern technology is helping a lot with school safety … A lot of these roads are heavily traveled.”
The two signs cost about $15,000 and installation was an additional $10,000. The Clarkstown Police Department utilized $25,000 from seizure funds to purchase the equipment. They’re timed to function during school hours, running a little before and a little after. “We don’t want it flashing all night because then people get desensitized,” said Sullivan.
Lasker, who lives in Upper Nyack, was invited to a safety committee meeting.
“I love the village here. When I was called to the safety committee, they talked about the need for a traffic signal here,” said Lasker. “I went to the supervisor and chief of police and asked if we could get the funds to put the signs up. It was something we had to do for the community and the safety of the children. Within a few months it was done.”
At the PTA’s request, the Clarkstown Police Department traffic enforcement monitored the area around the school and determined that these speed/message boards would be beneficial. They will alert drivers of their speed with a message to slow down if they are going above the speed limit. The speed limit in a school zone is 15 MPH when school is in session.
“Our Traffic Officers have identified the need for additional attention in the neighborhood of the Upper Nyack Elementary School to ensure the safety of the students and the resident,” said Supervisor Gromack. “This is just another way that our Clarkstown Police Department is keeping our community safe.”
This is an extension of the town’s Operation Slow Down which has proven to be successful, said Sullivan. “The program focuses on public safety, education about speeding, and enforcement. We hope residents and visitors continue to become more aware of the dangers of speeding through our neighborhoods, particularly in school zones.”
The Traffic Logix SafePace 600 radar feedback sign has two lines of completely customizable LEDs that can display text and graphics.
“It’s extremely important because this school has a lot of challenges in terms of traffic flow,” said Brownstein. “It’s a 2-way street, there’s another school across the street, there are kids walking, we have buses and cars. The most pressing traffic issue is speed.”
“Our PTA members have requested additional enforcement in the area of the school and we have responded to that request, along with installing these message boards in an effort to make motorist aware that there is a school in the area and they should slow down,” said Lasker.