Johns Creek upgrades school zone signs

New system went up on Aug. 13

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Johns Creek has enhanced its flashing school zone signs so that technicians can update them remotely, saving time and money and making the lights more reliable.

In the past, whenever schedules changed unexpectedly, technicians had to manually pull and adjust the internal clocks of each of the 26 flashing school zone signs in Johns Creek. City crews typically spent four or five days a year updating school zone signs. And city workers had to rely on reports from police and the public to tell them if there was a problem.

“It caused confusion when the flashing lights weren’t in sync with what was happening at the schools,” said Tom Black, Johns Creek Public Works director. “Updating or correcting the timing of the lights would take all day. It was time-consuming and labor-intensive.”

Under the new system, which went into effect when school started Aug. 13, school zone signs send signals through a cellphone network to a secure website. The website tells city personnel if the lights are working, the condition of the signs’ solar-powered batteries and whether the clock is keeping accurate time.

Now, if something unexpected happens, such as school closures because of snow, technicians simply access the website and type in adjustments that are sent to all the flashing school signs at once.

“It only takes a matter of minutes,” Black said. “This is much more efficient use of our small staff.”

City workers are also installing new signs alerting motorists they can face extra fines for speeding in school zones.

“In all, we hope these improvements will enhance safety for everyone,” Black said.

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