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White Lake School Zone Signs Simplified

At 10 a.m. Thursday, after an outcry from the public, the school zone signs near the Lakeland High School campus were changed.

It is a story making national headlines, being discussed on local radio stations and even mentioned on Good Morning America and now the issue of extremely wordy road signs may have been resolved.

The school zone signs, telling drivers to slow to 25 mph during school days, originally cited seven different school zone times. The signs located off Bogie Lake Road, near White Lake Middle School, have been been changed citing just two blocks of time during which motorists should adjust their speed.

White Lake Supervisor Greg Baroni said the change was made around 10 a.m. Thursday. "I just got off the phone with the (Huron Valley School) district and they didn't know about the change," Baroni said. "It was likely a change made by the county."

Craig Bryson, public information officer with the Road Commission for Oakland County, confirmed the county did change the signs.

"This wasn't our ideal alternative, and we will still be meeting with the school distirct and township to discuss the installation of a flashing yellow light and how the district would pay their portion per standard procedure," Bryson said.

Bryson said the Road Commission has offered the school district two options for electronic flashing signs. One would cost $38,000 and the second would cost $28,000. "Per Road Commission operating instructions, we would pay one-third of the cost," he said. "The school district or some other party or consortium of parties must pay the remainder of the cost."

Baroni, like Bryson, also wants to pursue a different sign, "We still want to look at the possibility of flashing yellow or digital signs for that area because of the three schools located there."

White Lake Patch first reported the issue in an Ask the Chief Column on Feb. 6 in which White Lake resident Angela Pomerleau asked about the possibility of changing the sign. She said, "As the signs read right now, there are at least six different time periods with obscure times listed on them, such as 6:49 a.m. – 7:17 a.m. I travel to the schools each morning as a passenger and I try to read them to see if we are in the specified times and I can’t, that is when I am a passenger"

Several residents chimed in on the comments section of the column, echoing Pomerleau's concerns.

"I completely agree," Christina Hill wrote. "I say the same thing every time I go through there as I have kids in those schools as well."

The old signs stated drivers, on school days, needed to slow down to 25 mph at six different times: between 6:49 a.m.-7:15 a.m.; 7:52 a.m.-8:22 a.m.; and 8:37 a.m.-9:07 a.m. during the mornings. In the afternoons the time listed were 2:03 p.m.-2:33 p.m., 3:04 p.m.-3:34 p.m. and 3:59 p.m.-4:29 p.m.

The new signs state the school zone will be in effect from 6:49 a.m.-9:07 a.m. in the mornings and 2:03 p.m.-4:29 p.m.

Are you happy with the changes or would you rather see the flashing yellow signs?

Editor's Note: The prices of the signs were clarified, along with the method of payment.

Jeffrey Long February 16, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I like the change. I cannot see how the cost of a flashing or digital sign could be $50,000 though. At that price, this is a good fix.
Miss Kim February 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM
With three school located on that stretch of road, an "expensive" flashing light would be worth every penny to keep our kids safe. A simpler sign is better than the unreadable signs we had though.
Sherry Woodbeck February 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM
STILL the times are so odd! Whose clock are they going to use to determine the time if pulled over?!?! Flashing yellow is the only safe remedy in my opinion. You don't have to spend time looking at the signs times listed - look at your speed odometer - look at a clock - watch or phone for the time - especially if you do not have kids or drive through there infrequently. Just saying.
LonzII February 17, 2012 at 01:40 PM
At least this is a start. I called the road commission at least 6x's regarding the sign & never received a return call/reply. I guess when it makes HLN, CNN & Good Morning America, as well as the front page of the Oakland Press, something gets done (I guess residents opinions aren't as important). They did react quickly to the national attention & make the change. A blinking would be best so I am satisfied that the option is still being considered (as stated by another, sure don't know how that will cost so much). Not only should the district have to chip in, but the township should also. For now, this change will make everyone's commute through the area much safer.
Brooke Tajer February 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Lonzll, the township was actually working with the school district and road commission to change the sign a week before the stories appeared in national news and the Oakland Press. We ran the story originally on Feb. 6 and the next day the township was already in talks with both parties to make changes... although, I won't argue that all the new attention did help the change happen faster than anticipated. The point is, the township, at least, was listening to the residents on the issue. I can't speak for the road commission or school district.
Brooke Tajer February 17, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Hi Jeff, we spoke with Craig Bryson this morning and the article has been changed to reflect more accurate prices. It's not as much as the $50,000 initially thrown out by reports. Thanks!
Jeffrey Long February 17, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I am 100% for the safety of students and the flashing signs. My point is that $50,000 for 2 lighted signs seems excessive. If you consider the 19 buildings with students in 11 locations, where parents will rightly want new signs, that's over a half a million dollars, plus electric bills.(Go Solar) I am not sure why the district should be responsible for the cost of signage required by law on county roads. This seems like the counties responsibility to me. How would you react if a road sign was posted at the street in your yard and the county sent you a bill for it? A $50,000 bill for something you could do yourself for a 1/10 the cost. Safety is the priority! The cost for signage should fall on the county, it is their responsibility.
Brooke Tajer February 17, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Sure thing, Bryson said the Road Commission has offered the school district two options for electronic flashing signs. One would cost $38,000 and the second would cost $28,000. "Per Road Commission operating instructions, we would pay one-third of the cost," he said. "The school district or some other party or consortium of parties must pay the remainder of the cost."
Jeffrey Long February 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM
"This wasn't our ideal alternative, and we will still be meeting with the school distirct and township to discuss the installation of a flashing yellow light and how the district would pay their portion per standard procedure," Bryson said. Bryson said the Road Commission has offered the school district two options for electronic flashing signs. One would cost $38,000 and the second would cost $28,000. "Per Road Commission operating instructions, we would pay one-third of the cost," he said. "The school district or some other party or consortium of parties must pay the remainder of the cost." Baroni, like Bryson, also wants to pursue a different sign, "We still want to look at the possibility of flashing yellow or digital signs for that area because of the three schools located there." I am happy the costs are lower, but they still sound excessive. This current solution provides 2 time blocks, the same as a single building location. I can still see where parents will rightly want new signs at every location. That still equates to an expense of anywhere from $308,000 to $418,000. That is about $40 per student in our district. I agree we need the flashing signs, I just don't agree the schools should have to pay for them.
Valerie Gilmore February 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM
When the 2011-2012 school year began, I was happy to see the two blocks of time listed although quite odd start and stop times, i.e. 2:03 p.m. When the multiple times were listed, I thought how distracting; it seemed I was constantly checking times. I'm glad to see the block of times are back; huge sigh of relief but still get a chuckle on the odd times. Regarding the proposed solution of "blinking signage" my feeling is that it won't work as good, and I say that only because of the multiple exits on that stretch of Bogie Lake Road (i.e., side streets, residential, business and school); that would be a lot of blinking signs to keep all motorists aware of school zone times. Let's keep it simple and cost effective. Although this probably wouldn't be a popular solution, how about a permanent 25 mph speed limit change in the school zone area (seven days a week); there are so many activities going on during non-school hours that it makes good sense to me. As always, communication would be key between city, county, and school district.
Greg Smith February 29, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Yellow Flashing Lights are a Must! Especially since Oakland County Road Commission and I believe White Lake Township are willing to help with cost of both lights. Or as Valerie Gilmore stated above, have a permanent 25 mph speed limit change thru that stretch of the School zone.
Alan Stamm April 01, 2012 at 03:38 PM
This tale of government gone wild vaults from White Lake Patch to The New York Times, where today's Sunday magazine has a short item on what may be the oddest traffic sign ever.

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