In an effort to improve pedestrian safety, the City of Vancouver is installing pedestrian crossing signs that light up with the push of a button.
The so-called Rapid Flashing Beacons will be installed this week at three locations in the city on a pilot project basis: Victoria Drive and Grant Street near Victoria Park, West Boulevard and 42nd Avenue near Kerrisdale Community Centre, and Elliot Street and Waverly Avenue near Waverly Elementary School and Nanaimo Park.
Such beacons are designed for locations where there are a high volume of pedestrian crossings, where drivers do not heed pedestrians when they cross the street, and can be installed at a significantly lower cost than a complete traffic signal. It heightens a driver’s awareness of a pedestrian or cyclist’s intention to cross the street.
“The City does ongoing work to identify and treat problem areas to address pedestrian safety and accessibility issues,” reads a release. “Engineering improvements made by the City have included pedestrian safety measures such as countdown timers, LED lighting, left turn changes and accommodating slower walking speeds at signals.”
A number of major North American cities such as Portland and Washington D.C. already use the technology. In Metro Vancouver, the beacon lights can already be found in Surrey, New Westminster, Port Moody, and UBC, including the recently built roundabout crossings where West 16th Avenue intersects with Westbrook Mall and East Mall.