WOODBRIDGE – Commissioner James Simpson joined NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein, Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac and others here today to activate one of the first pedestrian hybrid beacons in New Jersey at Magnolia Road and Route 27.
The hybrid beacon, designed to provide an extra measure of safety for pedestrians who cross Route 27 on their way to and from Metropark train station, displays red lights requiring motorists to come to a full stop. Unlike traditional traffic signals, the beacon’s lights remain off, or dark, until the traffic-control device is activated by a pedestrian.
“This innovative traffic beacon sends a signal that the department is serious about pedestrian safety,” said Simpson. “We will continue to invest in safety strategies and crosswalk improvements that alert motorists of the presence of pedestrians, but it is essential that pedestrians play their part by making smart, safe decisions and cross roads only at authorized locations.”
NJDOT selected the location for the federally approved traffic control device because a significant numbers of pedestrians cross Route 27 each day on their way to and from the Metropark train station. Approximately 800 pedestrians cross Route 27 daily at or near North Wood Avenue, Magnolia Road and Oak Tree Road/Green Street. The goal is to reduce incidents of jaywalking and increase pedestrian safety.
“The safety of our customers is our top priority, so we are pleased that one of the first pedestrian hybrid beacons in the state has been installed near Metropark Station, which is among the busiest in our entire rail system,” said Weinstein. “I strongly encourage our customers to take advantage of this new signal and cross Route 27 in a safe manner.”
“This busy section of Route 27 near the train station has been a safety issue for a long time, so I am very pleased that the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ Transit have listened to our concerns and responded with this innovative beacon that will provide pedestrians with another safe option to cross the highway,” said McCormac.
The beacon has been synchronized with nearby traditional traffic signals on Route 27. This will help motor vehicle traffic to flow as smoothly as possible and will help minimize congestion along a roadway that already experiences congestion during peak travel periods. The department has installed GPS devices in the beacon and in nearby traditional traffic signals to continuously synchronize their timing.
Synchronization means pedestrians will wait from 14 seconds to 93 seconds for the “Walk” signal after they press the button to activate the beacon.
The beacon includes an array of three lights, two lights side-by-side above a single light. These lights control vehicular traffic. The beacon also includes signals that control pedestrian traffic, like most traditional traffic signals, and provides pedestrians with audible cues to wait or walk. The pedestrian signal features a countdown clock indicating when motorists will get the signal to proceed.
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon details
· When the beacon is inactive, the lights for motorists remain dark. Motorists may proceed without stopping. The pedestrian signal displays a steady “Don’t Walk” signal.
· Once a pedestrian activates the beacon, it begins its sequence, giving pedestrians a walk signal after a wait of between 14 seconds and 93 seconds, depending on where the nearby traffic signals are in their display cycles. The hybrid beacon sequence starts with motorists being shown a flashing yellow light for five seconds. Pedestrians continue to see the steady “Don’t Walk signal.
· The flashing yellow light changes to a steady yellow signal for another five seconds. Motorists should stop if safe to do so. Pedestrians will continue to see the steady “Don’t Walk” signal.
· The steady yellow light goes dark while the two lights above it display steady red lights for ten seconds. Motorists must stop. After three seconds of steady red lights for motorists, pedestrians are given a “Walk” signal for seven seconds and should cross with caution.
· The steady red lights switch to flashing red for 16 seconds, requiring motorists to come to a full stop and then proceed only if no pedestrians are in the crosswalk. Pedestrians will see a flashing “Don’t Walk” signal, as well as a countdown clock starting at 16 seconds. Pedestrians should complete a crossing if they are in the intersection but should not begin to cross.
· The flashing red lights turn off, creating a display of three dark lights for motorists, who may proceed with caution without stopping at the signal. Pedestrians will see the steady “Don’t Walk” signal, and will need to push the button to activate the beacon.
The beacon is approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration and is listed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The first such beacon in New Jersey was installed on a county road in Westfield.
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