If you’re a driver or a pedestrian in Santa Clara, you may have spotted new crosswalk beacons in the city. Officials put the new beacons up at El Camino Real, Morse Lane, Harrison Street and Buchanan Avenue. They say that the beacons are necessary to give pedestrians plenty of time to cross the busy lanes of traffic on these roads.
How they work
The Santa Clara beacons are different than other crosswalk signals that you may have seen. They have three different signals, and they don’t activate until a pedestrian presses the buttons that are found on the poles. When a pedestrian presses the button, vehicle traffic receives a signal to stop. After traffic stops, the pedestrian is able to safely and quickly cross the road.
When a pedestrian pushes the activate button on the pole, one of the crosswalk lights begins to flash yellow. This tells drivers that they’re going to need to stop. After a few seconds of a flashing yellow light, the light turns to solid yellow. That means that drivers must stop if they’re able to do so safely. Finally, the light turns red, and all drivers must stop completely.
After traffic stops, the pedestrian sees a walk sign. It’s solid for several seconds and then begins to flash with text that says “don’t walk” and a countdown to show how much time the pedestrian has left before lights change. Once the pedestrian crosses the road, time expires, and the drivers can proceed. They should check carefully for pedestrians before proceeding so that the new crosswalk beacons in Santa Clara help make travel safe for both pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Then, the lights become dark until another pedestrian activates them in order to cross the road.
The City of Santa Clara plans for traffic safety
The new crosswalk beacons in Santa Clara are part of a larger effort to make Santa Clara more friendly to pedestrian traffic and safer for all travelers. Officials plan to place at least ten of the crosswalk beacons throughout the city at busy intersections and other locations with lots of foot traffic. They plan to continue their efforts through the summer of 2017 and into the fall.
To fund the program, the City of Santa Clara has tapped the Gas Tax Fund. City engineers are studying all of the crosswalks across the city. They plan to use these studies in order to determine where they should install new crosswalks and brainstorm ways to make traffic more safe in the city. Officials say that the long-term plan is to cover all major traffic thoroughfares and popular pedestrian areas with the crosswalks with a plan to focus on schools and places that seniors frequent. The new crosswalk beacons are the first part of the city’s long-term goals to evaluate traffic and improve travel safety throughout Santa Clara.