RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond installed a second set of modernized traffic lights geared towards improving pedestrian safety downtown.

The first set of these “Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons” went up in the summer of 2022 along Grove and Somerset Avenues. The recent additions are now in place along Broad Street near Interstate 95.

Caitlin McLean told 8News that crossing a busy street in Richmond can sometimes feel like playing a game of “Frogger.”

“I live right down the street and I feel like there have been plenty of times where I’ve been almost hit when I’m trying to cross,” McLean said.

Standard pedestrian crossing signs are sprinkled across the community, however, residents in the most concentrated parts of the city told 8News that those signals are often overlooked.

“Cars just turn and don’t even notice that there’s a walk sign for pedestrians,” McLean said.

The City is hoping to minimize this issue with the implementation of modernized “Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons.”

“I think drawing drivers’ attention that there are pedestrians will be super helpful,” McLean said.

After viewing the mechanisms, Mclean said she does believe they will attract attention and prompt some drivers to be more aware of their surroundings. However, she added, it is unlikely they are totally foolproof.

“I’ve noticed some people just kind of ignore it,” McLean said. “Or if they don’t see someone standing right there, they’ll just kind of blow through it.”

The implementation of these flashy traffic lights is intended to increase safety and walkability across the city. Within the past week, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) saw two incidents where a car hit a pedestrian.

“Richmond can be a really walkable city and I would like to walk more places,” McLean said. “But a lot of times, I just don’t feel super comfortable with the drivers.”

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons may not appear too out of the ordinary at first glance, but they’re timed differently from traditional stoplights. When a pedestrian activates the button, drivers will see a yellow flashing light indicating they should slow down. The light will turn red as the pedestrian crosses and will eventually begin flashing once it’s safe for a driver to begin proceeding with caution. The procedure is designed to give drivers more notice when a pedestrian is preparing to cross the street.

“I’m glad they’re doing something,” Mclean said.

Residents told 8News they believe, overall, the mechanisms will help make the streets safer for pedestrians by prompting drivers to pay more attention while behind the wheel. However, some residents added that a certain degree of responsibility does rest on pedestrians’ shoulders. People walking near busy streets should be mindful and check their surroundings.

The City plans to install more of these types of lights in the future. For more information visit the Richmond Department of Public Works website.