ATWATER -- The roads leading to Atwater schools are lined with lights -- and soon, 12 new speed signs.
City Council members approved the purchase of the signs weeks ago at a council meeting.
Each sign costs about $3,750, and 12 would total about $45,000. The money for signs comes from traffic funds.
"The whole idea is to use this as a traffic-calming solution and reduce speeding in school zones," said Stan Feathers, Atwater's assistant city manager. "When people are confronted with their actual speed, they tend to slow down."
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The main reason behind the installation of the signs is to prevent any pedestrian fatalities, he said.
Since 2001, Atwater has had 13 fatalities on its roadways, which includes pedestrians and drivers, said Police Chief Richard Hawthorne. There have been 46 accidents in the past 10 years in crosswalks involving pedestrians, and five of those resulted in deaths.
In past the two years, the city has been free from any traffic-related deaths, Hawthorne said.
The city has made a number of improvements recently to improve its infrastructure, Feathers said. "We've done a lot of road repairs," he said. "This is a continual effort to improve public safety."
There have been many safety upgrades around school zones, which include more noticeable signs and lighted crosswalks, Hawthorne said.
The signs have been ordered and should be up in the next month.
Supt. Melinda Hennes, of the Atwater Elementary School District, said she applauded the city's effort to keep children safe.
"Any helpful reminder is appreciated," she said. "Sometimes people may forget, so this is a good reminder for people to check their speedometer."
Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.