Construction Underway on New Traffic Safety Device
Construction is set to begin this week on a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon crossing at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Ferrini Road. This unique type of crossing—the first of its kind in San Luis Obispo—was identified as the highest safe routes to school improvement priority for Pacheco and Bishop’s Peak Elementary Schools and will be installed as the first phase of the Anholm Neighborhood Greenway project.
A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB), also referred to as a HAWK beacon, is a traffic control device used to stop road traffic and allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross safely. They are often used to improve crossings of major streets in locations where conditions do not warrant installation of a full traffic signal. For pedestrians and bicyclists, a PHB provides a similar crossing experience to a conventional traffic signal, with less disruption to vehicle traffic flows on the major street. The Federal Highway Administration reports that PHBs reduce overall collision rates by 29%, pedestrian collision rates by 69%, and serious and fatal crashes by 15%.
Construction starts with sidewalk and ADA curb ramp improvements in late July, with plans for the PHB to be fully operational in September. People can expect intermittent lane closures and potential traffic delays through July and August. While crews are planning to have all sidewalks and lanes open prior to local schools returning to session, if needed, traffic detour notices and temporary pedestrian walkways will be provided to maintain safe access to Pacheco and Bishops Peak Elementary Schools during construction.
The next phase of the Anholm Neighborhood Greenway project is scheduled for late 2019 into early 2020 and includes a dedicated multi-use path through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) property and a protected bikeway, or “cycle track”, on Ramona. The final phase, planned for 2020, will complete a priority bicycle and pedestrian route between Foothill and Downtown San Luis Obispo, including additional protected bike lanes and pedestrian crossing improvements.
The pedestrian hybrid beacon and other traffic safety improvements are driven by the City’s Vision Zero goal. Building on the success of the City’s existing Traffic Safety Program, which has already reduced traffic collisions by nearly 60% in the past 15 years, San Luis Obispo will work towards a goal of zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.