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New Crosswalk Lights Aim to Improve Pedestrian Safety

New rapid flashing beacon system comes with $10,000 price tag.

No, those are not strobe lights outside of the .

The new solar-powered safety signals at the library crosswalk are called a rectangular rapid flashing beacon system, and they were installed last week as a way to let drivers know about pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Two of these devices are already , but this is the first such crosswalk signal in Whitefish Bay.

The library crosswalk already had crossing signs, but these signs are larger, more visible, and with the push of a button from a pedestrian, the flashing lights will go off.

"There's always been a concern with that cross walk to make it more pedestrian friendly for people coming in and out of the library," Assistant Village Engineer Aaron Jahncke said. "With just a small amount of infrastructure, it brings more awareness that it is a crosswalk and people are crossing the street."

Jahncke said the equipment and the sidewalk work cost a total of about $10,000. The two signs on either end of the street communicate wirelessly with each other, so crews did not have to dig up the road to trench a wire under the street.

Marvin Mason December 02, 2011 at 01:10 PM
$10,0000? I'm not familiar with that amount. Is it in the category of kazillion?
StaynConnected December 02, 2011 at 03:24 PM
It seems to be helpful to add awareness of pedestrians in the intersection; especially at this location which has high traffic, often involving young children. However, it's a shame that it had to be such an ugly monstrosity. The solar cell and battery/control unit perched on top of the poles make it look particularly bad. While is would have cost more to have to bore under the street, it would have made sense at this location to use underground electrical wiring, which would have reduced the eye sore significantly.
Bob McBride December 03, 2011 at 02:45 PM
I've yet to see these, but if they're anything like the flashing strobe light stop signs on Morris south of Capitol in Shorewood, I wonder if we're going to end up with situations where someone comes close to being hit because a driver was distracted by the flashing lights that took their focus away from activity in the crosswalk itself. The other issue is uniformity. There seems to be now two competing ways of marking crosswalks that are uncontrolled (possibly more, but those are the two I'm familiar with). One involves this kind of arrangement (which again would logically seem to take ones focus away from where it needs to be), and the other involves a flexible paddle with a small yield sign on it, fixed to the road at the centerline near the cross walk.. It would be nice if whomever it is who determines the proper types of signs to be used for other purposes (DOT, perhaps?) would pick one specific method and stick with it so that drivers begin to automatically associate that marker or warning with an intersection where they have to watch out for and yield to pedestrians.

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