Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New signal at W&OD Trail/Cedar Lane intersection

RRFB bases installed at Cedar Lane and ready
for the posts to be mounted
According to W&OD Trail manager Karl Mohle of NoVa Parks (the new moniker for NVRPA), a new signal will be placed at the W&OD Trail/Cedar Lane in the next few days. The signal is a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB). One is currently located at the Belmont Ridge trail crossing in Loudoun County.

Trail users push a button and lights will flash warning motorists that someone wants to cross. It’s not a typical red traffic signal. The lights are amber and they use an irregular flash pattern. While motorists are not required to stop, the lights certainly get their attention the signals have been shown to be very effective if used properly.

For the signals to work, trail users must push the ped button. Unlike most traffic signals, the amber lights flash immediately after the button is pushed. While motorists are not required to stop for the
Belmont Ridge RRFB
Image: Google Maps Streetview
lights, they are required to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. In my experience motorists at the W&OD Trial crossings are much more considerate than they were just a few years ago. Most will stop for trail users waiting to cross.

Personally I think the RRFB is a much better safety measure than a traditional traffic signal where trail users are required by law to wait until they get a green WALK signal. If they are involved in a crash and they had entered the crosswalk without the WALK signal, they would be found at fault.

Let's see how these signals work. There will be an initial learning period but we think they will be a definite improvement at the Cedar Lane crossing.

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