City officials announce safety and accessibility initiatives for back-to-school

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- School zone safety and open Wi-Fi are the latest initiatives that the City of South Bend is tackling before schools are back in session.

Installing new, flashing school zone beacons has been a project in the works for nearly five years, but is now near completion just in time for students that are heading back to school.

“We’re excited that we will be able to install nearly 140 flashing beacons across the city,” says South Bend City Engineer, Kara Boyles. “The beacons will flash for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, so for your normal school day. Around that start and ending time of the school.”

Officials say the new beacons are necessary to remind motorists that some streets become bus stops, walking routes, or drop off zones for students in the early morning.

“We need to make sure we’re careful when driving and make sure we’re following the speed limits especially around school zones,” says South Bend Mayor James Mueller.

The next initiative addresses an issue that became apparent during the pandemic as most schools turned to e-learning: the need for more open Wi-Fi hotspots in South Bend.

“When we were in the pandemic, it became especially true that you need connectivity to the Internet to get ahead in a 21st-century economy, says Mayor James Mueller.

The new, open Wi-Fi locations announced on Tuesday adds nearly 129 access points for free, accessible Wi-Fi across the city’s neighborhoods, and will be especially helpful for students and parents that may not have internet access at home.

“We’re using fire stations, parks, and other community places in order to make sure that residents have access to Wi-Fi and the Internet, and all the things that brings to them,” Mayor James Mueller says.

More information about South Bend Open Wi-Fi locations and to find one near you, visit southbendin.gov/sbow.

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