Village to Purchase Solar Pedestrian Beacons for S. Main, College Ave. Intersection


by Paula McKibben
   Perhaps the solution has been found to the South Main Street-College Avenue safety dilemma.
   The village is purchasing four solar pedestrian beacons known as a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) from the R920 series by Carmanah.
   According to the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highways Administration, “RRFBs have been found to provide vehicle yielding rates between 72 and 96 percent for crosswalk applications, including four-lane roadways with average daily traffic exceeding 12,000.”
   Joe Sehlhorst, a member of the Streets Committee, saw the lights in action in Florida. Sehlhorst first noticed them at night on heavily traveled roads like the ones around Elida. When he first saw the bright blinking yellow lights, his reaction was, “What in the world is this?” As a result of this experience, he says, “I think this will definitely work for us.”
   People waiting to cross at the intersection, push a button which activates a flashing yellow light. Caution is still required by pedestrians, but the flashing yellow light should slow traffic down enough to stop for waiting pedestrians.
   In addition to the signal, the crosswalk will be obliterated and replaced with a wider, brighter hash-marked area. 
   Also, horizontal parking spots will be marked on the south side of the intersection since parking spaces also are signals for drivers to slow down.
   According to Nancy Kindle, village fiscal officer, the cost of the beacons is $6,480, and the crosswalk improvements will be $5,250.
Money for the project comes from the gas excise tax and cents per gallon from the state of Ohio and from motor vehicle registration from Allen County. The city gets about $10,000 annually from these sources and is allowed to carry over amounts for larger projects.