Council amends municipal code regarding buses’ red, amber lights
Lights to be used on all city streets
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — At the Oct. 11 Marshfield Common Council meeting, city leaders approved an adjustment to the municipal code that will change the way bus operators use their flashing red or amber lights within the city limits.
The amendment provides for “the use of flashing red or amber warning lights by school bus operators in a residence or business district when pupils or other authorized passengers are to be loaded or unloaded at a location at where a sidewalk and curb are laid on both sides of the road.”
“(What) this ordinance does is it overrides some state statute, which is currently in existence,” said Marshfield Police Chief Rick Gramza. “State statute states that school bus operators shall not use red or amber lights in certain areas, and one of those areas is in residences or business areas where pupils or other authorized passengers load or unload and there is curb and sidewalk on both sides of the street.
“For safety precautions we feel that it is important that school bus operators use their amber and red warning lights prior to picking up a child in the city limits regardless of whether there is curb and sidewalk on both sides and that they extinguish it upon the safe entrance onto the bus by the individual.
“They are prohibited from using (the red or amber lights) right now, unless we enact this ordinance.”
Citing the importance to the safety of Marshfield school children, Alderman Gordon Earll made a motion to suspend the rule of a second reading and take immediate action. The motion passed but was later debated upon consideration of informing the public of the change.
After much discussion, the ordinance to amend the operation of red or amber warning lights passed 10-0.
The ordinance requiring school bus operators to activate the red or amber warning lights on all streets will go into effect Saturday, Oct. 15, upon official publication.