Francis St. mystery lights will signal crosswalk

Dear Johnnie: What is the purpose of the newly installed signal lights on Francis both north and south of 23rd Avenue? — Marcia

Dear Marcia: I took a look for myself, and I too had a difficult time figuring out what the lights are for.

They are new; each has yellow flashers in both directions; each is about 250 feet from the intersection, with no signage, dormant, and with nothing that appears to trigger them.

The only clue I had was their location on each side of 23rd Avenue. My first thought was that they have something to do with firetrucks traveling from Fire Station No. 4, maybe to warn motorists if a unit is traveling west toward Francis Street.

But I was wrong. The lights are for students who cross Francis Street.

“These are new School Speed Zone flashers for a new school crosswalk across Francis Street at 23rd Avenue,” city traffic engineer Bob Ball wrote to Johnnie. “This school flasher will begin operating on the first day of school (Aug. 18).”

Ball told me that school zone flashers flash both directions so that everyone on both sides of the school zone flashers can see when they are flashing.

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