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New state-of-the-art crossing signal coming to Granite Bay

August 08, 2016

Keeping our communities walkable, accessible and safe for pedestrians is a high priority in Placer County.

Tomorrow, a state-of-the-art crossing signal will be activated on Auburn Folsom Road just north of Douglas Boulevard in Granite Bay.

The crossing signal location was determined by the Placer County Department of Public Works and Facilities to have a higher than normal rate of vehicle-pedestrian accidents. The new crossing signal will help to improve pedestrian safety while minimizing wait times for drivers.

The new crossing signal is not like a regular traffic light, as it is only activated when a pedestrian presses the button. When it is not activated by a pedestrian, the signal is dark and traffic can move across freely.

Once activated, the signal will go through a series of stages that will stop traffic just long enough for pedestrians to safely cross the road. Traffic will then be allowed to proceed and the signal will return to dark until activated again.

A 2002 Federal Highway Administration study found that some marked crosswalks had higher crash rates than unmarked crosswalks. By comparison, the new crossing signal shows up to a 97 percent vehicle compliance.

The signal is equipped with audible tones for visually-impaired pedestrians.

Here’s how it works (see graphic for detailed view):

  • No light
    Drivers can proceed through crosswalk without stopping until a pedestrian activates the push-button to cross the street.
  • Flashing yellow light
    Alerts drivers approaching the crosswalk the pedestrian hybrid beacon has been activated.
  • Solid yellow light
    Warns drivers to stop.
  • Solid double red lights
    Drivers must stop for pedestrian crossing.
  • Flashing double red lights
    Drivers are to stop and proceed with caution if clear.
  • No light
    Drivers can proceed through crosswalk without stopping until the beacon is activated by a pedestrian.

The signal, also known as a HAWK (high-intensity activated crosswalk) beacon, the first-of-its-kind in Placer County, is part of a Highway Safety Improvement Program federal grant. The contract, administered by Caltrans and executed by the Placer County Department of Public Works and Facilities, was approved by the county board of supervisors in late 2015. In addition to the crosswalk signal, other area improvements under the $1.3 million project include road widening and resurfacing, new sidewalks and a vehicle speed feedback sign. 

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