By Jean Cole
Motorists in Athens and Limestone County should expect a manic Monday.
More than 12,000 city and county students will return to classes, which means more cars, trucks, SUVs, school buses — and police cruisers — on the roads.
Athens Police Capt. Anthony Pressnell said police would be out in force Monday and throughout the week to enforce speed limits in school zones.
“There is going to be increased traffic — especially the first day — with the numbers tapering off by Friday,” he said of the number of motorists in school zones.
He attributes the spike expected Monday to parents and grandparents coming to see their kindergartners attending their first day of school.
“Often you have two sets of parents plus two sets of grandparents in two or more vehicles the first day,” Pressnell said. “People need to slow down in the school zones.”
In the city, speed limits at most of the elementary schools and the middle school are 20 miles per hour. The speed limits on 31 and U.S. 72 near Athens High School and Athens Intermediate School drop to 35 miles per hour, he said.
So motorists do not forget the speed limit, signs are posted in all of the zones, and the high school and middle school also have flashing lights to alert motorists.
Should signs or flashers not be enough, police officers and crossing guards will be present.
“We are going to have officers in the school zones, so slow down,” Pressnell said.
Crossing guards will be present at the elementary schools and on Washington Street for the intermediate school.
“Motorists should watch for crossing guards standing in the middle of the streets directing traffic,” Pressnell said. “They often see people not paying attention to them. We usually get several complaints about motorists running through crossings. So, drivers should not only be cautious about kids, but also for crossing guards.”