Wind: 3 mph
Drivers in Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren are now seeing flashing radar speed signs as they enter the villages and approach the elementary schools.
The flashing radar speed limit signs let drivers know their speeds and are intended to slow people down as they approach school zones. The signs are part of the Safe Routes to School program which is providing funding for sidewalks and other traffic and safety improvements for our schools and our towns.
Let's be clear here. We all want children have safe routes to school and we all want all drivers to respect our villages and respect our school zones and obey speed limit signs in our village and on all our roads.
But these flashing blinking signs actually create a distraction in an area where drivers need to be paying attention to other drivers, school buses, kids on bikes and kids on foot.
We are all familiar with these signs as they are often temporary and are moved around towns and villages to make people aware of their speeds. But they also make people check their speedometer against the sign and look back and forth several times. The signs are ugly and garish and take drivers' eyes away from the road in front of them.
These signs create visual pollution at the entrance to our village in Waitsfield and Warren and in the center of the village in Moretown. Is this how we want to enter our villages? With a flashing yellow light? Welcome to our quaint Vermont village where we are all proud that we have no traffic lights, except for these flashing yellow radar signs.
Can't we come up with more thoughtful and creative traffic calming measures? Aren't we that smart? Do we really need to have our gorgeous Vermont villages replicate urban and suburban sprawl?
For safety sakes could the signs in Waitsfield at least be moved further north of the school so that drivers are not looking at the flashing lights and their speedometer when they should be watching out for kids, buses and other drivers?
The signs, by the way, are programmable by each town and can be programmed to operate only at specific times or on specific days and/or when drivers are exceeding the speed limit.