ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A new type of signal is coming to a dangerous section of Orange Blossom Trail, in hopes of reducing the number of people being hit as they cross the road.
- Pedestrian hybrid beacons to be installed at Orange Blossom Trail
- There have been numerous pedestrian-related crashes in one section OBT
- The beacons will look similar to traffic lights
The Florida Department of Transportation is installing pedestrian hybrid beacons at three mid-blocking crossings on OBT, between I-4 and Holden Avenue. Figures from MetroPlan Orlando show between 2015 and 2019 there have been 28 pedestrian related crashes on this section of OBT. Ten of those were deadly.
“It’s the hardest street to cross,” said Patricia Burman, who admits she sometimes jaywalks to cross OBT. “When you can get across, you better take it.”
“What is happening now at the crossings that we currently have on OBT, they’re not working, and so hopefully this will help reduce some of those crashes,” Orange County Commissioner Victoria Siplin said.
The pedestrian hybrid beacons will be a big wake up call for drivers. The lights, which are installed on a pole over OBT will look similar to a traffic light.
When the light isn’t on, drivers can proceed. But once a pedestrian pushes the button to cross, the light will flash yellow, indicating drivers should slow down. At solid yellow, drivers should prepare to stop. Then the light will turn solid red, when drivers need to stop. That’s when the pedestrian can cross.
Next, the light will flash red, that’s when it’s ok for drivers to proceed, as long as the crosswalk is clear.
The goal, to encourage drivers to slow down, and to get people to use more convenient crosswalks.
“We hope throughout the years people will become accustomed to utilizing these cross areas, because that is the safest place to cross,” Siplin said.
The $780,000-project is the first to bring pedestrian hybrid beacons to Central Florida.
They should be up and running in a matter of days.