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Vancouver experimenting with rapid flashing beacons to improve pedestrian safety

PHOTO: Rapid flashing beacons already in use in Surrey.
PHOTO: Rapid flashing beacons already in use in Surrey. (source: www.portmoody.ca)

The city of Vancouver is looking into installing flashing beacons at pedestrian crossings in hopes they will help avoid pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

The technology, known as a Rapid Flashing Beacon, will be installed at three pilot locations this week, including:

  • Victoria Drive and Grant Street (near Victoria Park)
  • West Boulevard and 42nd Avenue (near Kerrisdale Community Centre)
  • Elliot Street and Waverly Avenue (near Waverly Elementary School and Nanaimo Park)

Pedestrians will activate a high intensity amber beacon light with a push-button, which is supposed to increase the awareness of people driving or cycling that a pedestrian may be crossing the street.

The city says rapid flashing beacons are typically installed at locations with a high volume of pedestrian crossings, where a pedestrian signal is desired but not warranted, or where drivers rarely stop to let pedestrians cross.

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The technology has already been tested in Surrey, New Westminster and Port Moody.

It is also in use in Portland, Washington DC and other US cities.

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