RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The City of Richmond is installing Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHB) at several busy streets in a push to improve pedestrian safety. 

PHBs are an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a pedestrian signal that aim to help pedestrians safely cross busy streets. Pedestrians will press the call button to activate the signal. Then, the signal will do a yellow to red lighting sequence that will direct cars to slow down and come to a stop, allowing the pedestrian to cross.

So far, PHBs have already been installed at the intersection of Grove Avenue and Summerset Avenue and on East Broad Street between the I-95 Bridge and 16th Street.

“Just having more infrastructure, like lights, or speed bumps, or bike lanes, is really just [going to] help for the future. It’s only getting more dangerous to be a pedestrian [or] cyclist because of how distracted drivers are right now,” said Johnny Phan, a Richmond cyclist. 

Construction crews could be seen out Tuesday morning near Huguenot High School and Holton Elementary School installing the beacons. The city said they’re often placed where it’s difficult for pedestrians to cross a roadway, like where the speed limit is higher than 35 miles per hour. 

Data shows that since Richmond’s Vision Zero plan was introduced in 2015, there has been virtually no progress in reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries in the city. (Data: Richmond Vision Zero)

The installations are a part of the city’s “Vision Zero” plan, which was first introduced in 2015. It aims to reduce traffic deaths and injuries that some residents like Phan feel seem to be on the rise lately.

“I’ve been in the cycling world for 15 plus years now. And unfortunately, it’s nothing new. And it sucks that it is kind of getting worse, with just how busy Richmond has gotten,” Phan said. “Just slow down and watch out for each other, everybody’s just trying to get somewhere.”

The locations for the new PBHs include: 

– Forest Hill Avenue near Huguenot High School 

– Semmes Avenue near Fonticello Park, 

– Laburnum Avenue near Holton Elementary School 

– Belvidere Street at Virginia War Memorial 

– Hull Street at Silverwood Drive 

– Hull Street at Worsham Way 

– Hull Street at 29th Street 

– Main Street at 24th Street (GRTC) 

– Williamsburg Avenue at Stony Run Road 

Existing emergency signals and beacons at Fire Station #17 on Semmes Avenue and Fire Station #5 on Leigh Street will also be modified to function as PHBs.