Ann Arbor OKs Five Flashing Beacons

At its Dec. 19, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council authorized a budget modification, drawing on its major street fund, to allow an expenditure of $81,000 – to install five rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) on existing pedestrian islands in the city. Four of the locations are along Plymouth Road (at Georgetown, Traver Village, Beal and Bishop). The fifth location is at Seventh and Washington. [.pdf with schematic of intersections and an RRFB] [.pdf of map depicting locations]

The flashing function of an RRFB would not be continuous – it would be activated by a pedestrian pushing a button. The staff memo accompanying the resolution describes an RRFB as “similar in nature to the light bars on the top of emergency vehicles.” The flashing beacons do not count as traffic control signals for the purposes of the city’s pedestrian safety ordinance, which addresses motorist behavior “[w]hen traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation …” Otherwise put, the pedestrian safety ordinance will still apply at those crosswalks where RRFBs are installed.

Annual costs for operation and maintenance of the RRFBs are estimated at $160 per crossing. Installation of the new signs is scheduled to begin in February 2012, and to be completed by April 2012.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]