The City of Roanoke has just installed the first rectangular rapid flashing beacon at the intersection of Dale Avenue and 19th Street in front of Fallon Park.
“This device – by people pushing the button – displays a strobing light that warns driver the presence of a pedestrian crosswalk,” said Andrea Garland, a traffic engineer. “Virginia is a yield to pedestrian state law. The law is that if you see a pedestrian use the crosswalk, you have to yield to them.”
The device comes a year and a half after neighbors in the area complained that pedestrians couldn’t safely pass the intersection.
“About a year and a half ago, members of the Neighborhood Association reached out to me about how to improve pedestrian crossing to Fallon Park,” said Garland. “This is a very active community, very active neighborhood. We have a really great outdoor asset park with a pool and elementary school so they just wanted to talk to us about how we can make it a little easier and more comfortable for people to walk across the street.”
Garland says the road sees up to 20,000 cars a day, and says the new device is a two way conversation.
The city intends to do a campaign to help drivers and pedestrians learn about the device.
“I have been talking to the school, to the principal of the school. We intend to do a campaign to teach parents – give an information session to parents about this new device,” said Garland. “We have spoken to the crossing guard who is here everyday, and we’re just working our way to get it more promoted about pedestrian safety.”
This is the first one of its’ kind in Roanoke City.