Cobb adds radar signs near where crossing guard was fatally hit

Cobb County has installed two electronic road signs outside Lindley Middle School near where a school crossing guard was struck and killed in November.

The family of 64-year-old Edna Umeh started pushing to improve road safety following her death. Soon after, the county announced a “corridor safety audit” in the area of the school on Veterans Memorial Highway.

Cobb spokesman Ross Cavitt said that the study is almost done.

Erica Parish, the interim county roads director, said changes should be made to the roadway before the start of the next school year.

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That stretch of Mableton road is in a school zone, but there are no lights or crosswalks at the school entrance.

Cobb commissioners approved the installation of 10 radar speed signs on Tuesday. Cavitt said a Marietta company, Radarsign, donated two signs that were installed late last week on Veterans Memorial near the school.

These are the signs that let motorists know how fast they are going.

The cost and funding source for the rest of the signs is unclear because it’s a state road and requires more coordination with state authorities, Cavitt said.

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Auditors are considering medians dividing the four-lane road and a “HAWK” crossing. 

HAWK, or High-intensity Activated crossWalK, systems are those ones where you push a button and the sign flashes letting motorists know to stop at non-intersections. They are supposed to reduce jaywalking and increase safety.

Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Austell, unsuccessfully introduced House Bill 672 during the most recent legislative session that would have allowed law enforcement officers at middle and elementary schools to use speed detection devices.

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The man accused of killing Umeh, Lamonte Whitaker, was indicted in late January on a felony vehicular homicide charge, court records show.

As previously reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police and a witness said Whitaker swerved around stopped traffic and into the center turn lane, which is where he struck Umeh. He was driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit in the school zone, according to an arrest warrant.

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Right now, the express lanes are set to open in September, but officials told Channel 2 the project could finish up by late August.

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