Park West Boulevard crosswalk where child hit receives new $17K flashing sign system
MOUNT PLEASANT — The Park West Boulevard crosswalk where a truck hit an 11-year-old girl earlier this year has a new $17,000 flashing sign system that appears to be the first of its kind for the county.
And if the signs are as effective as town officials think they’ll be, the technology soon could be expanded to other areas.
“It grabs your attention, there’s no doubt about that,” said Town Administrator Eric DeMoura, who saw the new system being tested Monday.
The incident in which a driver swerved around a stopped car and struck Cario Middle School sixth-grader Haley Rogge in January prompted a flurry of reaction from town and school leaders to make busy Park West Boulevard safer. Rogge suffered numerous injuries in the collision.
The town pledged to install Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon signs, which are activated when pedestrians push a button and which flash with bright, solar-powered lights. One study showed the percentage of drivers who yielded increased from 18 percent to 81 percent with the signs, compared with standard ones.
It took a couple months for the signs to arrive in Mount Pleasant. The town began the installation process last week and finished Monday.
“The technology has proven to be more effective than really any other option, and what’s great about it is that it provides protection not just during school hours,” DeMoura said.
In addition to the flashing sign system, a number of other warning signs were installed in that area before and after the incident. DeMoura said those will be evaluated to determine whether all need to remain.
“There’s a lot out there right now, and we might take down one or two in order to not overdo it,” he said. “You want to have just enough signage to be effective. If you have too much, you run the risk of going the other way.”
The town also stationed a crossing guard in the area during nearby schools’ arrival and dismissal times, and those duties since have been taken over by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. The county is responsible for deciding which schools receive crossing guards.
Jeff Scott, Charleston County School District’s director of security, said the district offered to fund the crossing guard position for the rest of the year, but the Sheriff’s Office volunteered to pick up the cost and promised to do so for next year.
Reach Diette Courrégé at @Diette on Twitter or 937-5546.