Saturday, August 18, 2012

Safety is top priority as students return to school

Mayor Bill Jenks, III
Despite record breaking temperatures, and what seemed like the summer that would never see temperatures in the 70s or 80s again (like we did last week), thousands of students have returned to school, and the community is back to the usual hustle and bustle that makes Rolla the unique, diverse, and vibrant college and university town that it is.
Whether or not you have students enrolled in Rolla Public Schools, or a university or college, I urge everyone to please take notice not only of all the additional pedestrian traffic that comes with the start of school, but also the many school zones and cross walks located along Pine Street (6th through 18th Streets), Bishop Avenue, 10th Street, Soest Road, Salem Avenue, Forum Drive, Pinetree Drive. Lanning Lane, Kingshighway and 18th Street, to name just a few. There is quite a bit of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic along these busy corridors, including the downtown business district along Pine Street, especially during the morning and lunchtime hours, and later in the afternoon when students are returning home or to their dorms and apartment complexes.
Missouri Revised Statutes state that “When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.” Rolla’s Municipal Ordinances (Chapter 27, Section 27-89, Motor Vehicles and Traffic), state that motorists shall proceed cautiously, yielding the right of way to any pedestrian within any crosswalk. Bicycle paths, such as the City’s 13-mile-long pedestrian bike path network, also have pedestrian cross walks and again motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in all cross walks. 
Fortunately, the Rolla Police Department and Missouri S&T Police Department do a very good job overseeing motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and enforce the traffic laws, including improper parking, when necessary, but the assistance of the motoring public is an important piece of this very large puzzle that includes the safety and welfare of thousands of students.
With over 7,000 students enrolled at Missouri S&T, 4,000 enrolled at the eight Rollla Public Schools and thousands more enrolled at the other area colleges such as Columbia, Drury, Webster, Metro Business College and others, safety is a high priority throughout the school year. Please do your part to ensure we have a safe and memorable year with all of our students, residents and visitors enjoying the beauty and serenity of our community. Public safety, and especially pedestrian safety, is a topic I think we all agree is at the heart of a healthy, prosperous and peaceful community
In closing, I’d like to remind everyone that the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting the 4th Annual Bulldog Pride Night on Friday, Aug. 24 prior to the first home football game for Rolla High School. This community supported event will start at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot next to Lions Memorial Stadium and RHS, and will continue until game time with our own Rolla Bulldogs verses the Lebanon Yellow Jackets. There will be free hotdogs, soda, and stadium cups. The RHS band, cheerleaders, and football players will all make an appearance so plan to join the community to support our Bulldogs and show your pride! The football game starts at 7 p.m., and admission is $4 at the gate.

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