Flashing lights near schools set on timers

Who controls the flashing lights at school crossings? The two I'm most familiar with are on Delta Waters Road and sometimes they are flashing on school days and sometimes not.

On the days when the lights aren't flashing, there are still crossing guards present so it is a school day. Does someone in the school flip a switch or are the lights on some sort of timers?

— John L., Medford

Well, John, no crossing guard, school official or student has the power to control when the lights are flashing.

The lights are on timers, which are supposed to cause them to flash during the highest student-traffic periods of the day, according to Rhonda Marincus, a school staff member at Kennedy Elementary School, which backs up into Delta Waters Road.

Marincus said that city has put the lights on a timer to flash in the morning at about the time students are arriving, and again in the afternoon when students are heading home.

So, while the lights aren't flashing all day long during school days, they are supposed to flash every day school is in session.

The lights flash from 7:15 a.m to 8:15 a.m. each weekday, and from 2 to 3 p.m. every weekday except Wednesday, when the lights flash from 1 to 2 p.m. because of an early student release.

"The city has it all set up for us," said Marincus. "It's just on a timer."

So any time you see those lights flashing, you are expected to obey the state's 20 mph or less restriction, and keep an eye out for crossing children.

However, keep in mind that even if the lights aren't flashing, any time that students or a crossing guard are present at the crosswalk, you are expected to slow to 20 mph or less.

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