Traffic

Jan 12, 2011 8:21 PM by Stephanie Collins

Safety First: check out the new "hybrid pedestrian beacon"

The city of Colorado Springs introduced a new pedestrian signal this morning near Edison Elementary on North Hancock Avenue.

The new signals are called hybrid pedestrian beacons. They are dark when not in use, allowing traffic to go through and to save on energy costs. The beacons resemble a traffic light, when a pedestrian activates it, the light flashes yellow to warn drivers and then turns a solid red to stop traffic while the person crosses. Finally, the beacon will flash red, meaning drivers can proceed, as long as the intersection is clear.

The city says the signal will increase pedestrian safety and improve traffic flow. The signals have been used in other cities and have been proven to be safer than a regular traffic light. City officials say places with the hybrid pedestrian beacons have had 30% fewer accidents involving vehicles, and around 70% fewer accidents involving pedestrians.

While safety is the main purpose, these lights are also cost effective. To put in the first pedestrian light at Edison Elementary cost $50,000. City engineers say a new traffic light would have cost around $150,000. The light was paid for with a federal grant and tax dollars.

Edison was chosen as the test site because the intersection with 3rd St. at Hancock Ave., near the school, needed to have the light replaced anyway. If all goes well, the plan is to add more across the city. Additional locations haven't been picked out yet.

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