RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Some of Richmond’s busiest streets will soon have a new feature –Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHB), an “intermediate” option between a flashing beacon and a pedestrian signal that are designed to help pedestrians and bicyclists safely cross busy streets.
The beacons have two red lenses and one yellow lens. The lenses are dark until a pedestrian who wants to cross the street pushes a button to activate the beacon. The red and yellow lights then flash to direct drivers to slow and then stop so pedestrians can cross. The lights go dark again once the pedestrian has crossed.
PHBs have to be accompanied by a marked crosswalk and pedestrian countdown signal.
According to the City of Richmond, these beacons are useful at night and in areas where it is difficult for pedestrians to cross the street, such as roads with speed limits over 35 mils per hour, high volume traffic areas or streets with three or more lanes.
PBHs have already been installed at Grove Avenue at Summerset Avenue and on East Broad Street between the I-95 Bridge and 16th Street, but the City is planning many more locations for the beacons.
These locations 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 be also modified to function as PHBs.
These beacons are being installed as part of “Vision Zero,” which aims to stop all traffic deaths and severe injuries. While this project was introduced to Richmond in 2015, the City has put renewed focus on making streets safer for pedestrians in recent weeks. On Thursday, May 11, the Department of Public Works began installing speed tables on Main, West Franklin, West Cary and West Grace streets in response to the death of a VCU student in a crash nearby on May 8.