Parents Worry Lack of Street Signs Dangerous for Kids
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County is cleaning up its streets. The public works department is removing street signs, such as "Kids at Play" signs, throughout the county that are old and difficult to read. The sign removal worries local parents who say the roads will be more dangerous for their children.
"You may say that some people don't recognize them, but some people do. And if you put nothing up, no one's gonna recognize it, you know, there's not gonna be any recognition to slow down," Boone County resident Paul Heywood said.
But the county argues many drivers do not abide by "Kids at Play" or neighborhood speed limit signs any way so it shouldn't make a difference to pedestrian safety.
"[The signs] proved to be unenforceable and an unclear guidance as to what the drivers' expectations are. And also they give a false sense of security to the parents... We just feel that the signs are distracting and not effective so that's why we don't support them," Boone County Public Works Chief Engineer Derin Campbell said.
The county will no longer maintain the signs but said citizens can put up their own.
"If that makes them feel more secure, they can certainly do that. The signs are sold at major retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe's. The best way to do it is to call in and see where they need to be but they can usually tell by looking at other signs," Campbell said.
"It would be worth my few dollars to pay if they would put it up for the safety of my kids and the kids in the neighborhood," Heywood said.
Boone County Public Works said it would be willing to work with neighborhoods if they devised a street sign proposal for their area.
"The compromise would be that the homeowners who want signs near their home could pay for the sign if they [public works] would do the installation on it," Heywood said.
The county has about 8,000 signs in the area so it will not remove all of the old ones at once. "We don't really have the man power to do that," Campbell said. "If we're working in the area and notice a sign like this that's old and dilapidated, we'll take it down. But to go out and make a specific effort to do that we don't feel thats an effective use of our time and taxpayers' money."
Campbell said it will take a couple years to remove all of the dilapidated signs.
"Everybody can relate to a child whether it's one of their children or a brother or sister. That puts a face when you have that sign out there and I think that would make a difference with people slowing down," Heywood said.
For more information on Missouri street signs, visit the state's public safety website.