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City Unveils Latest Pedestrian Safety Improvement

Post Date:11/15/2017 3:15 PM
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The City of Greenville is continuing to make improvements to enhance pedestrian safety. The installation of the City's first Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) is the latest example of those efforts.

The beacon, a coordinated public-private effort between the City, East Carolina University, and the owners of the Boundary at West End, was unveiled at the intersection of Cotanche Street and East Seventh Street on Wednesday. The device, when activated by a pedestrian, alerts drivers that a pedestrian is in the crosswalk through solar-powered flashing high intensity LED lights.

"Many students cross Cotanche Street at this location so that they can attend classes at ECU," Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan said. "While it is state law that a vehicle must stop at a crosswalk to allow for a pedestrian to cross, this device will give drivers a clearer indication that a pedestrian is using the crosswalk."

RRFBs use an irregular flash patten that is similar to emergency flashers on police vehicles. They are intended to supplement warning signs at unsignalized intersections or mid-block crossings by eliciting a greater response from drivers than traditional methods. The cost of the RRFB was approximately $7,000, but officials say it is a lower cost alternative to traffic signals and hybrid signals.

"They are solar powered, so there is no electricity needed," Greenville Traffic Engineer Rik DiCesare said.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) collected data from a variety of U.S. cities on the effectiveness of RRFBs. According to the data, the RRFBs improve compliance of vehicles yielding to pedestrians significantly. FHWA data indicates a four-fold improvement with the use of RRFBs, which should greatly enhance pedestrian safety in the community, officials said.

City officials are planning another RRFB for the intersection of Cotanche Street and Ninth Street, and exploring options for one on Moye Boulevard.

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