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Those driving around Roe and 95th should prepare to slow down for schoolchildren

In this file photo, a Prairie Village police officer issued a ticket to a student for not wearing a seatbelt near the intersection of 77th Street and Fontana. The department will soon be at full force.
In this file photo, a Prairie Village police officer issued a ticket to a student for not wearing a seatbelt near the intersection of 77th Street and Fontana. The department will soon be at full force. The Kansas City Star

Morning commuters traveling through the intersection of 95th Street and Roe Avenue in northeast Johnson County will need to be prepared to slow down beginning this fall.

The Prairie Village City Council on Tuesday voted to create a new reduced speed school zone at the intersection to protect students walking to and from nearby Trailwood Elementary School.

The speed limit for the area around the intersection will go from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour during morning and afternoon hours when children will be walking.

The council also agreed to hire a crossing guard to help children walking across 95th Street. The position will be temporary with the city reevaluating the speed zone after one year.

Prairie Village Police Chief Tim Schwartzkopf said the previous crossing guard at the intersection was phased out at the end of the 2010-2011 school year after it was determined there were not enough students walking to school to make the program feasible.

He said that after a number of recent meetings at Trailwood involving residents, it was determined to try reintroducing the safety procedures.

“Parents say the demographics have changed,” he said, later adding, “Everyone that was in these meetings understood that if the walkers are not there, the crossing guard will be eliminated.”

He said at least 15 students a day must use the crosswalk to keep the program viable.

The city of Overland Park, which shares jurisdiction for the area, is expected to split the costs of the crossing guard and adding signs, beacons and pavement markings.

Schwartzkopf said the Overland Park City Council is scheduled to vote on the zone Aug. 20.

In other business, Schwartzkopf told the council his department should be up to full employment next month after struggling for several years, like many law enforcement agencies, to attract and retain officers, often having to operate shorthanded.

He said the department has three officers in training and will add five in August, bringing total employment to 48, although those trainees must still graduate from the police academy. Schwartzkopf said it will be the largest incoming class to new officer trainees for the department since 1995.

“It is a good place to be,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic.”

David Twiddy: dtwiddy913@gmail.com

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