SGF Yields, the City’s pedestrian safety education program, is spreading the word about new pedestrian safety devices coming soon to several Springfield neighborhoods.
Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) are pedestrian-activated flashing devices that can be easily seen by drivers from longer distances. According to the Federal Highway Administration, RRFBs can enhance safety by reducing crashes between vehicles and pedestrians at unsignalized intersections and mid-block pedestrian crossings by increasing driver awareness of potential pedestrian conflicts.
“RRFBs are used to supplement standard pedestrian crossing warning signs,” explains Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “They provide another level of warning that has been seen to be effective at grabbing driver’s attention so they know to stop.”
Three sets of the flashing beacons are planned for installation this fall at crosswalks located on Blackman Road across from Dan Kinney Park, Walnut Lawn and Broadway Avenue, and at Grant Avenue and Calhoun Street.
“These locations are all on higher speed roadways where we have received safety concerns in the past,” says Buettgen-Quinn. “We have installed regular crosswalks, but feel walkers at these locations will benefit from pedestrian-activated signals.”
Educational resources will be provided to schools, neighborhoods and agencies nearby the planned RRFB locations so both pedestrians and drivers know to recognize the new devices and how to respond, added Buettgen-Quinn.
How they work
Walkers must press the button to activate the lights and signal to drivers of their intent to cross. Pedestrians should wait until traffic stops and make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the crosswalk.
“The activation of the beacons does not give drivers a red light, but rather the lights blink to alert drivers that a person is trying to cross.” says Buettgen-Quinn. “A pedestrian will still have to wait at the edge of the street to make sure drivers are yielding as they should and then only proceed when all drivers in all lanes have stopped.”
Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians when approaching mid-block crosswalks or intersections. Remember to stop for walkers trying to cross, even if RRFB lights are not flashing. Also, remember to give pedestrians plenty of space and stop at the stop bar or yield triangles marked on the roadway.