New school zones take effect FridayPublished 10:02am Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Friday is the first day of school and will bring some new school zone changes for people driving to work in Bainbridge.
The changes have been made because Jones-Wheat Elementary classes have been temporarily moved to the old West Bainbridge Middle School on Dothan Road. A new Jones-Wheat will be built on the site of the old school, which is being demolished.
But with students now going to the old WBMS, a school zone is no longer needed on Shotwell Street. At the same time, the school zone that used to be along Dothan Road will be reactivated. The Georgia Department of Transportation has been working this week to dismantle the caution lights and signs on Shotwell Street and move them to Dothan Road, according to school officials.
Although Bainbridge Public Safety officers do not serve as school crossing guards, they do enforce the lowered speed limit when school zones are active, BPS Director Eric Miller said. In addition to providing traffic support at Bainbridge High School as they’ve done in the past, BPS officers will be doing special patrols along Dothan Road to help make sure people are aware of the new school zone, Miller said.
Normally, traffic citations can be written to drivers going over the posted limit in the school zones. But because the Dothan Road school zone has been reactivated, there will be a 30-day grace period in which officers will not write tickets for speeding in a school zone.
“Mainly, we just want to be visible near the school so that drivers will be aware that there is a school zone there now,” Miller said.
Although there will not be a school zone on Shotwell Street this school year, Director Miller asked drivers to still be careful in the mornings and afternoon. The regular speed limit along the section of Shotwell Street next to Bainbridge Mall is still 35 miles per hour.
“There will still be Bainbridge Middle School students walking across Shotwell Street before and after school, as well as other pedestrians, so drivers should slow down for them,” Miller said.
The Jones-Wheat temporary move will also affect the school’s bus routes, School Transportation Director Farrell Lawrence said.
A new bus route has been added to pick up students that formerly would have walked to Jones-Wheat, because of how close they lived to the school, and take them to the Dothan Road campus.
In addition, some of the other three routes’ pickup times have had to be modified to allow for the extra distance to the school, Lawrence said. Some other details, such as stop locations and how older students will be transferred onto the buses that serve Jones-Wheat, are also changing, he said.
“We’ve sent out information about the new routes to Jones Wheat and the other affected schools,” Lawrence said. “Copies of the route will be available to parents at the schools, but we are also answering specific questions about the bus routes by phone at the transportation office.”
Printable copies of the new Jones-Wheat bus routes are available on www.thepostsearchlight.com and from the school’s office. Parents with specific questions that can’t be answered by school staff may also call the school transportation office at (229) 248-2204.
Jones-Wheat 2013-2014 Bus Routes (PDF file)