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Safety beacons being added or upgraded in Columbus school zones

Now that a lot of students are heading back to the classroom, school zone safety is extremely important.

Now that a lot of students are heading back to the classroom, school zone safety is extremely important.

The City of Columbus just spent more than a half-million dollars on adding flashing lights and beacons to make sure you slow down for students.

As life during the coronavirus may feel like it has slowed down, speeds on the road have increased.

“I think that's a problem we see throughout the city right now. It seems the speeds of the vehicles not only on residential streets in school zones but also out on the freeways," Columbus police Sergeant Joe Curmode said. "It seems like the speeds are increasing. I think that's being reflected in the number of fatal accidents."

While Columbus City Schools do not have students back in the buildings yet, many charter and private schools do.

“Speeding is primary in the school zones. That's where we get our concentration of walkers crossing the streets. It's also a problem of people passing school buses that are stopped,” Curmode said.

If you think you don't have to follow the school zone speed limit, think again.

To help remind drivers just how important it is to slow down around schools, the city approved just under $500,000 to add in flashing lights or beacons to some schools and replace old ones at 29 schools across the city.

“The flashing lights are a really good visual indicator for motorists to slow down and that they are approaching a school zone. Although they are not required by law, it's a great visual indicator,” Curmode said.

Curmode and the motorcycle unit's main goal is to watch for the safety of students in school zones. He says the flashing lights are a great reminder to everyone to watch out for kids, who may not be watching for you.

“I think it's a good investment in our community. One fatality in the school zone is one too many. We've had fatalities in our school zones before, and anything we can do to try and prevent that is worth the money,” Curmode said

For this project, the city focused on schools that have more students who walk to school as well as schools that were recently rebuilt or moved to new locations.

Here is the list of schools for the project.

These 29 schools will get flashing beacon system upgrades:

  • Avalon Elementary School
  • Beechcroft High School
  • Bishop Ready High School 
  • Cedarwood Elementary School 
  • Centennial High School 
  • Champion Middle School
  • Columbus City Preparatory Academy for Girls
  • Cristo Rey High School 
  • Davis Middle School
  • East Columbus Elementary School
  • Eastgate Elementary School
  • Gables Elementary School
  • Graham Expeditionary Elementary and Middle School – 16th Ave
  • Linden McKinley High School 
  • Mifflin High School 
  • Northgate Intermediate Elementary School 
  • Northland High School 
  • Oakland Park Elementary School 
  • Olde Sawmill Elementary School 
  • Olentangy Meadows Elementary School
  • Parsons Elementary School 
  • Riverside Elementary School 
  • Salem Elementary School 
  • South High School 
  • St. Mary Magdalene
  • St. Paul Lutheran School
  • Tussing Elementary School 
  • West High School 
  • Whitehall Fitness and Preparatory School

These schools will get new school flashing beacon installation:

  • Africentric School
  • Metro Early College
  • Siebert Elementary School
  • Spanish Immersion
  • Woodward Park at Walden
  • Dominion Middle School
  • Columbus Gifted Academy