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New pedestrian lights enhance safety while walking

February 18 2016

Rapid flashing beacon at crossing
Photograph by Lara Justine [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Today the City unveils a new type of pedestrian crossing at three pilot locations.

The technology, known as a rapid flashing beacon, allows people crossing to activate a high-intensity amber beacon light with a push-button. The light enhances safety by increasing the awareness of people driving or cycling that someone is crossing the street. 

Rapid flashing beacons are typically installed at locations with a high volume of pedestrian crossings, where a pedestrian signal is desired but not warranted, or where drivers rarely stop to let pedestrians cross. 

Pilot locations for the rapid flashing beacons

  1. Victoria Drive and Grant Street (near Victoria Park) 
  2. West Boulevard and 42nd Avenue (near Kerrisdale Community Centre)
  3. Elliot Street and Waverly Avenue (near Waverly Elementary School and Nanaimo Park) 

This traffic control device has been tested by other cities within the Lower Mainland including in Surrey, New Westminster, and Port Moody. It is also in use in Portland, Washington DC, and other large US cities.

Our goal is to eliminate all fatalities from the transportation system

We emphasize safety for vulnerable road users, such as people using active transportation and at-risk groups like children, seniors, and those with mobility challenges.

We work to identify and treat problem areas to address pedestrian safety and accessibility issues. Our improvements include countdown timers, LED lighting, left turn changes, and accommodating slower walking speeds at signals.

We work closely with partners to identify appropriate steps to improve pedestrian safety and make our streets safer for everyone through engineering, enforcement, and education. 

What you think about the flashing beacon crosswalks?

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