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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Two Rockford Students Win In Traffic Calming Sign Design Contest

Two Auburn High School students in Rockford won a sign contest meant to reduce speeding in neighborhoods.

Out of 35 submissions overall, Angelica Morales and Chase Heim were named as the winners during a city council meeting for their design with the slogan, “Slow down. Kids matter.”

Both students won a city and park district prize package that included movie tickets and passes for various city activities.

Rockford traffic engineer Jeremy Carter says the number one complaint the city traffic division gets is speeding in residential areas.

“Whether that speeding issue is actually real or just perceived, it’s a problem if the citizens feel that their neighborhood is unsafe,” Carter said.

Carter says those residents usually request stop sign or speed bump installation or increased enforcement from police. However, Carter says studies have shown that stop signs and speed bumps are not that effective in reducing speed and the city’s police force is already understaffed.

Carter says those citizens are usually frustrated after he explains that to them, and he wanted to do something to make sure residents know their concerns are heard.

“So it was kind of an idea that I had come up with to maybe try to get these signs made so that I can offer them to the citizens and say, ‘Hey, we can put these out, and hopefully have kind of a grassroots effort to remind people that they’re going through neighborhoods,’” Carter said.

Carter says he would love to see this contest become an annual thing. He says about 500 copies of the sign will be available for pickup at City Hall starting June 1.