Students at Lamar Elementary in Wichita Falls now have a safe route to school
By Kait Spielmaker
A Unique Partnership
As part of a unique first-time partnership with Carmanah Technologies, America Walks awarded a set of Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) to the City of Wichita Falls, Texas – a city of just over 100,000 residents.
Students of Lamar Elementary will now have a safer route to school for the new school year, which started this past Wednesday, August 17th, 2022. Before these beacons were installed in May of this year, the road – a four-way intersection outside of Lamar Elementary where Hines Blvd. and Lucas Ave. meet – was minimal pedestrian services. The singular crosswalk that existed had faded, allowing drivers to easily exceed the speed limit despite signs that reduced speeds to 20mph during school drop-off and pick-up hours.
“This is a huge blessing to the entire student body as well as our staff that crosses our students home each day after school,” said Principal Amanda Garcia as she stood with the Mayor, city councilors, school faculty, and staff from Wichita Falls health and traffic department. “It just overall helps keep our kids safe. So from the bottom of my heart on behalf of Lamar Elementary, I just want to say thank you.” Karel Davis of the Wichita Falls Health Department was particularly influential in the logistics and completion of this project.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Monday, August 15th, 2022 – almost one year since the RRFB’s were awarded. Wichita Falls was the only city to receive this unique award with the intention of creating a safe crosswalk in a community.
The Federal Highway Administration cites research showing vehicles yielding at rates as high as 98 percent in the presence of Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons and are especially “effective at multilane crossing with speed limits less than 40 miles per hour”. Moving forward, as pedestrians approach the crosswalk at the intersection of Hines and Lucas Ave. in Wichita Falls, Texas, they will use the ADA-compliant iNX pushbutton to trigger 20-second rapid flashing lights, complete with a locator tone and vibrotactile indication for people with motor, visual, and auditory disabilities. Students of Lamar Elementary – along with faculty and others from the community – now have a safe space to cross the street.
We want to thank Carmanah Technologies and the community of Wichita Falls for this unique partnership and opportunity to make a community safer for pedestrians.