I wanna know: 'Confusing' speed limit signs - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

I wanna know: 'Confusing' speed limit signs

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(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -

In 2010, a McNeese freshman died after being struck by a vehicle while crossing a street next to the campus. The tragedy prompted changes to improve safe travel for students. At least one woman questions whether the signage is effective or if it is too confusing.

"I want to know why the signage on Common Street, between Sale Road and McNeese Street, is confusing. It's the signs of 35 (and) 25 being the same size, and small print, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days," said concerned citizen Lee Robinson.

Over the last several years, there have been changes around the McNeese campus, which is surrounded by very busy streets. The goal is to prevent students on foot or riding bikes from being hit as well as to prevent accidents in general. 

Still, the speed limit varies: 40 miles an hour on McNeese Street, 35 miles an hour on Ryan, while on Sale and Common Streets it's 25 miles per hour at times, and there are signs similar to what you might see in a school zone, but not the same. 

Driver Lee Robinson thinks the signs are confusing.

"So, we have a lot of different signage and speed limits surrounding the campus," said Robinson.

While a typical school zone would require reduced speed only two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, the signs on Common and Sale require 25 miles per hour from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

"It's so small where it says 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days. It's very difficult to see.
There's confusion about it being a school zone, and from what I have gathered from many students, they see people receiving tickets all day long," said Robinson.

Lee admits someone in her family got a ticket for speeding on Common by McNeese, but she says she's paying the ticket and speaking out for student safety and to help other drivers avoid tickets due to confusion.

McNeese spokesman Candace Townsend says the streets surrounding campus are governed by different authorities. Overall she says they feel changes have been effective.

"We have seen a reduction in the number of pedestrians, bicyclists, that have been hit by vehicles. We've seen a reduction in the number of vehicle accidents and even in the accidents that we've had the injuries and the damage to property or to vehicles and bicycles have been far less than they used to be when the speed limits on these streets were much higher," said Townsend.

She says the new parking garage, with 800 spots, has helped a lot too. Student Joseph Spruel says he thinks crosswalks and signs do make it safer for pedestrians, still: "They could do a better job with people turning and yielding to pedestrians, but overall I think it's a pretty safe system," said Spruel.

Robinson also questions why the 25 mile per hour speed limit only lasts until 4 p.m., when classes continue into the evening, but Townsend says traffic on and off campus falls off dramatically at night. Plus, she says since there are fewer people, most can find a parking space on campus and don't need to walk across surrounding streets.

Still, the campus is surrounded by busy streets and it's a reminder for everyone to pay close attention.

"It's the responsibility of drivers to know where they are and to be watching street signs and reading those signs and paying attention," said Townsend.

And for those who don't, there will likely to be a police officer close by to provide a reminder. 

McNeese officials say they discuss crossing safety with new students as part of orientation. A spokesman says they're always open to new ways to improve student safety.

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