El Paso’s school zone markings can be described as lazy, unpredictable, and even misleading. It was only a few years back when someone from either the local neighborhood or the janitors put up the school zone signs in the middle of the street where there was no doubt school was in session. Not so today. No sir today you have to have a $20,000 overhead sign that has to be programmed to work, or worse yet you have signs that are small and so out of the way that many drivers miss them. I’ll give you some examples of what I’m saying, and I’m sure you have many you could share.
On Mesa street, the signs for Mesita Elementary extend about three neighborhood lengths, yet many drivers ignore the signs because they’re not marked well. Mesita, like other schools, is actually facing away from Mesa yet this major street is marked for a school zone. You hardly ever see kids or parents trying to cross Mesa inside that zone yet the signs are there. Drivers must pay extra attention but most don’t.
Another case is the school zone that goes forever on Copia for Crockett School. These abominations were placed there about two years ago and the school zone goes on until you get to Bisbee, about the longest school zone trap anywhere in El Paso. I haven’t been able to find out who ordered or authorized such a long school zone but I’m assuming that someone had to have said to put the things in and all. These are more a nuisance than a really effective zone. Crockett is only a block long on Copia yet the zone is at least triple that if not longer, going under the train rails, past the little league ball park and another full block. I think it’s the longest zone in the city. Stupidly long.
St. Pius school zone is a trap because they are the smaller off on the curb signs that remain visible all year long even though school doesn’t go on that long. Many motorist simply ignore the signs and zoom past, endangering the kids when they are in school. Here’s a really good reason that the city should require some sort of cover for these signs when school is not in session but I’m sure the argument is that it’s too much work or would cost too much. Another reason for the old fashioned in the middle of street signs rather than these stupid small signs.
Interestingly the kids that go to Chapin High School don’t have any school zones on Dyer and that simply has worked very well. No need apparently and therefore no one is pushing for any signs. At least for now.
Montana Avenue has a lot of school zones as does Arizona and Rio Grande streets. Some of these are not effective because they are hard to see. Ever travel east on Montana in the morning only to have the sun block out your view? Someone should fix those signs and again the need for them to be in the center strip is a logical choice.
Today I had some idiot pass me up on Montana going east a few blocks before Reynolds. The signs were flashing and all and this driver just blows past me, oblivious to the danger he put everyone in. Especially the kids at the cross walks. You know the story because you’ve either seen someone do this or you have done this.
All I’m saying is that there has to be a better way to alert traffic to school being in session, and out of session. The losers are the kids because adults, at all ages, don’t seem to be alert when they should.
I’m wondering where you think the school zones are a mess and what you would suggest? I hope to see your comments.