AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some drivers tell KXAN it’s a dangerous situation: people speeding right by school zone signs in southeast Austin. But they say part of the problem is the signs themselves causing confusion.

There are two school zone signs, one right in front of the other, at a school zone starting on the 2200 block of E. Stassney Ln. Simon Rangel, whose nephew goes to nearby Josephine Houston Elementary, has driven through the school zone.

“They put up a whole other sign,” he said. “That’s kind of ridiculous, if you ask me.”

Rangel said this double up of signs doesn’t seem to connect with drivers on East Stassney Lane.

“I was passing by, going 20 myself, and I look back in the rearview mirror, and I see people going faster than me. I go, ‘what is this?'” Rangel said.

Another driver told KXAN she fears for her life when she slows down to 20 from 40 miles per hour — what if the car behind her doesn’t do the same?

An Austin Transportation Department spokesman said before the start of the school year, technicians discovered the flashing beacon light on the original sign was not working, so, more than a month ago, the spokesman said the city put up a temporary sign displaying school zone times.

  • Temporary school zone sign in front disabled sign
  • Temporary school zone sign in front disabled sign
  • Flags and covering on school zone sign
  • covered beacon light
  • Flags and covering on school zone sign
  • fixed school zone light

It’s a fix Natalie Suarez, who has a daughter in pre-K, wasn’t impressed with. Suarez believes the confusion for drivers is the inoperable beacon light still shows above the temporary sign.

“A lot of people don’t pay attention whenever they’re driving,” Suarez said. “So, if they don’t see that flash light on, how are they going to know?”

According to Austin 311 records, there have been six complaints to the city about the light in about the last month.

KXAN reached out to the City, and soon after Austin Transportation showed up to clear up the confusion.

A City worker covered the beacon light and used flags to draw attention to the temporary sign. A transportation department spokesperson said that’s usually standard practice but was overlooked in this case, adding the department takes school zone safety very seriously and is taking steps to avoid miscommunications in the future.

A few days after that, Austin Energy came out and repaired the light.

Lizzette Escobar, a parent with a child at Houston Elementary, said, “It’s very important, because it tells cars to slow down and be careful because there’s a school zone.”

KXAN asked why it took so long to repair the light. A spokesperson for Austin Energy said the transportation department just notified it of the problem a few days before it was fixed. Austin Transportation Department told KXAN the department investigated the beacon in late August and could not determine the source of the interruption. A transportation department spokesperson said the department made the request to Austin Energy to restore electricity on September 9, 2022 and Austin Energy restored power five days later on September 14th.

Austin Transportation said, and Austin Energy confirmed, service to the beacon light was interrupted because of nearby construction.