By REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — Crossing Union Street just got a lot safer for students at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Elementary School in Niskayuna, thanks to a pair of brand-new signs with blinking, solar-powered lights.
The crossing signs remind drivers that the speed limit is 20 mph in the school zone, and flash yellow when class is in session. It’s helpful, but not remarkable — unless you look up.
Mounted at the top of each of the two signs is a small, angled solar panel that keeps the lights working. They’re the first of their kind in town, but probably not the last. In addition to being unique, they are cost-effective.
“They were less expensive to start with, because you install them and they’re sort of their own units,” Town Supervisor Joe Landry said. “You don’t have to wire them for electricity, and there are no ongoing costs.
“They’re cheaper to install, and cheaper in the long run,” he added.
In total, the two new signs cost less than $12,000.
Landry said the possibility of using solar energy will be evaluated on a project-by-project basis, but that it was likely that more panels will pop up around Niskayuna in the future.
Solar lights can also be spotted at the Recreation Center on Aqueduct Road.