Eyes on the Street: Flashing Pedestrian Signals in Sloan’s Lake, Regis, Congress Park, Stapleton, Hilltop

A person in a wheelchair crosses the street at 26th and Newton near a bus stop and an assisted living center for older adults in Sloan's Lake. Photo: David Sachs
A person in a wheelchair crosses the street at 26th and Newton near a bus stop and an assisted living center for older adults in Sloan's Lake. Photo: David Sachs

Back in May, Denver Public Works installed a “rapid flashing beacon” at 30th and Downing. The signals are meant to get drivers to yield to people walking and using wheelchairs, and they’re now up and running at five more crosswalks around the city.

The intersections of Central Park Boulevard and Xanthia Way, 51st and Lowell, Josephine Street at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Holly and Cedar, and 26th and Newton now have flashing pedestrian crossings.

To cross using a beacon, you press a button that immediately sets off blinking lights on each side of the street. The lights are fixed bright yellow signs telling drivers to yield to people in the crosswalk.

It’s not the kind of thing you tend to see in very walkable cities, where traffic tends not to move at lethal speeds and drivers act more cautiously by habit, because they expect to see pedestrians everywhere. But as an interim measure for high-speed Denver streets that pass through areas with foot traffic, the flashing beacons make sense.

Here’s a look at the other intersections that got the treatment:

IMG_3439
Regis University is here at 51st and Lowell, a busy place for students walking to and from class. Photo: David Sachs
IMG_3451
Flashing beacons make crossing Josephine Street, a one-way speedway in front of the Denver Botanic Gardens in Congress Park, a little safer. Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs
The flashing lights at Central Park Boulevard and Xanthia Way in Stapleton connect to the Montessori Children’s House of Denver. Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs
Holly and Cedar, near a small commercial center in the Hilltop neighborhood. Photo: David Sachs

Only one of these streets, Josephine, is on the city’s high injury network. There are certainly less affluent neighborhoods that could use these lights as well — areas the city’s Vision Zero plan calls “communities of concern” in its Vision Zero plan.

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