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March 24th, 2019

crosswalk signOne of the crosswalk warning signs installed at the intersection of 2nd and Kansas Avenue earlier this month. Discussion of the installation of the signs came about after a pedestrian accident occurred at that intersection in February. L&T photo/Robert PierceELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Crosswalks are used by many people every day to help people cross the streets safely and recently, an installation was made to help make the intersection at 2nd and Kansas Avenue safer. 

New crosswalk warning signs were posted at the beginning of March after an accident had happened in late February. 

“This crosswalk and other major crosswalks in town are already marked and lighted for drivers and pedestrians to obey,” Liberal Police Chief Dennis Mulanax said. “Back in February, officers were called to 2nd and Kansas after a report of a vehicle and pedestrian accident.  The pedestrian refused medical treatment.  Then at a city commission meeting, Mayor Connie Seigrist and I spoke of this accident and Mayor Seigrist requested additional signs be placed at 2nd and Kansas.”

The process then very quickly happened to help get the new signs installed, Mulanax said. 

“Now was the time to put up those signs because Mayor Seigrist requested it be done,” Mulanax said. “Mayor Seigrist had inquired about the status of the pedestrian accident soon after it happened and was immediately concerned. The very next day  I spoke to the city's street engineering department and requested additional signs be put up as soon as possible. The signs were ordered and installed within about two weeks and have been up since. The City of Liberal has gone above and beyond in marking this intersection in order to provide added protection for people using it. Drivers are strongly encouraged to obey the 20 mph speed limit in this area and I would remind people that this is the speed limit and not the minimum speed. Drivers should always drive at a slow enough speed to avoid any type of collision.  Regardless of the speed limit, drivers are legally obligated to drive slow enough for the conditions of where they are driving and to operate their vehicle in a safe and controlled manner.”

Overall, Mulanax said, the safety of pedestrian crossing the roads is paramount.

“City officials, including the Street Engineering Department, officers and members of the Liberal Traffic Safety Committee analyze roads, intersections and signage and meet regularly,” Mulanax said. “The Liberal Police Department tracks accidents and if a street or intersection shows to have a pattern of danger and legal action can be taken, then such is done.  What is aggravating is that drivers know the driving laws, and yet many of them choose to not pay attention or intentionally violate these laws regardless.  The speed limit in Liberal is 30 mph unless otherwise indicated.  Again, this is the speed limit.  Many drivers think that they can go 5-11 mph over the limit before getting stopped by police.  Wrong.  Officers can stop for any speed over the speed limit and often our officers stop for speeds of 5 mph over the limit.  I as your Chief of Police can direct our officers to write tickets and therefore give no warnings for all violations as is often done in problem areas or on selective enforcement projects. As always though we ask that you simply obey all the traffic rules so that such decisions do not have to be made.”

Mulanax added he is proud of the signs being installed and shared some observations already seen in the short time since the signs have been installed. 

“I’ve observed we have both lights and now signs marking and regulating vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” Mulanax said. “Several drivers do obey safe speeds but it's the few, and in my opinion more than few, that drive too fast or even  reckless. Many of these speed violations are done with intent and we will be having officers assigned to working traffic enforcement only.  Be advised that if I am paying officers overtime to work strictly traffic, then they will be issuing citations to court and not issuing warnings.  So please, slow down and be safe!  Compliance to the law is our number one objective. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2007, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 13,040 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes. ... Motor vehicle crashes cost society an estimated $7,300 per second.”

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