Speed on display in school zones

Signs encourage drivers to be more cautious

Palm Desert, Calif. - Many streets in Palm Desert have 50 mph speed limits, but once drivers enter a school zone, the speed limit is always 25 miles per hour when children are present. The city of Palm Desert is helping drivers recognize the reduced speed limits around schools,  by showing them how fast they are driving.

The vehicle speed feedback sign being installed by Abraham Lincoln Elementary is one of 15 that the city of Palm Desert is putting up near schools as a reminder to be cautious.

"Real good," Palm Desert resident, Mark Small, said of the concept of raising driver awareness in school zones. "Especially when you're supposed to be going 25 and people are buzzing by you all the time."

A few blocks down the road, another speed feedback sign was installed near Washington Charter Elementary. 

Palm Desert has invested $7,450 dollars in each vehicle speed feedback sign. They were approved by City Council in June with money from the Traffic Signal Fund.  All the signs generate their own power from the sun.

"Your solar panel up top will supply your voltage to your batteries," Jimmy Williams from Sierra Pacific Electrical Contracting, said. "Which then will give juice to your LED speed limit sign."

The first speed feedback sign in Palm Desert was put up on Grapevine Street as a test project more than a year ago. The city found drivers slowed down by an average of about 5 miles per hour on the street, but after six months, they got used to it, and speeds crept back up.

"They can be helpful to have traffic slow down," Jill Cutri said. "It makes me slow down when I see it flashing."

Now drivers will see those flashing numbers in 15 locations denoting school zones all across the city of Palm Desert.

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