Patrols to watch traffic
Published 12:08 am Friday, August 12, 2011
VIDALIA — Drivers looking for an early morning shortcut down John Dale Drive in Vidalia may soon need to get their brakes checked.
Starting Monday, the Vidalia Police Department will be patrolling every school in the city to help qualm any traffic problems and to also crack down on any speeders making the areas unsafe for walking children.
VPD Chief Arthur Lewis said students will be going back to school Monday, leaving the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. as a troublesome time for students heading to and from school.
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“We are going to have a lot of people coming and going from the school,” he said. “The kids walking to school aren’t going to be paying a whole lot of attention, so we are going to be out monitoring these roads.”
Lewis said officers will be going to every school to watch for any problems, but one of the main are to be paying a whole lot of attention, so we are going to be out monitoring these roads.”
Lewis said officers will be going to every school to watch for any problems, but one of the main areas of concern lies on the very street that houses the police department — John Dale Drive.
“John Dale connects to U.S. 84 and Louisiana 131,” he said. “People like to swing through and use it as a shortcut going both ways.”
Lewis said Vidalia Junior High School rests three blocks away from John Dale Drive, and many children walk down the road to get to class.
“It is a mixed residential and business area, and kids come from all over town down the street,” he said. “We have some vehicles that come speeding through there, and even with stop signs, we are just concerned about their safety.”
Lewis said the speed limit is 25 mph down John Dale Drive, and anyone not following the law will be ticketed.
“People driving down this road need to realize that we are going to be making sure the traffic is at the right speed,” he said. “That is the whole point to the boost in patrols. We are just looking out for the kids’ safety.”
Lewis said the extra patrols will also be used to help clear up traffic around the schools, especially at Vidalia Upper Elementary School on Concordia Avenue and Vidalia Lower Elementary School.
“In these areas we usually have heavily congested traffic, with no one knowing where to go or park,” he said. “We are going to beef up our traffic directors so we can help keep things moving at a steady rate.”
Each school’s resource officer will have patrols around their facility each day, Lewis said.
“We are just going to be there to direct the traffic and answer any questions people have about parking situations for each school,” he said.
Lewis said the officers will also be on hand at the schools to help deal with any problems from the students.
“Kids coming to school from the summer are always a little hyper and full of energy, and sometimes they can be a little aggressive,” he said.
“We are not expecting any trouble,” he said. “We are just going to be there as a precaution.”
Lewis said the patrols will continue throughout the school year, and there will be no leniency for any violators.