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City of Abilene installs new flashing crosswalk near Lee Elementary

By Jenna Rogers, Reporter, jrogers@ktxs.com
Published On: Oct 10 2013 01:04:08 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 10 2013 07:48:05 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

It's the first of its kind in Abilene: a new flashing crosswalk system to help keep drivers alert and pedestrians safe.

City traffic engineer James Rogge said the area on N. 10th Street at Lee Elementary School is one of the busiest in town. About 10,000 cars travel through the location every day.

Fourth grade Lee teacher Rene Myers said the street is always busy.

"You're gonna have a kid that's gonna get hit so we as teachers and faculty we like to make sure the kids get across safely," she said.

Rogge said the project was a top priority on the list of traffic improvements.

The lights are called "Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons."

"It's eye-catching and it flashes the same pattern as emergency vehicles do so people tend to pay closer attention," said Rogge.

So are they effective? Rogge said studies on the lights have shown yielding rates of up to 90 percent.

Rene Myers said there has been improvement at the crossing already.

"The traffic has slowed down a lot," she said. "When they see those lights they're starting to slow coming down they;re not as fast and they make sure they're paying more attention to the kids that are crossing."

The project cost $12,700 dollars paid out of the city's pedestrian enhancement fund.

"Watching the kids yesterday and the people use it, I feel it's well worth the money," said Rogge.

"I know that it was expensive but I would do anything and our school will do anything to make sure all of our kids are safe and they return home safely and they're safe on this campus," said Myers.

Rogge does warn, however: "Don't push the button just to watch it flash. This is here for pedestrian safety and when you push the button to watch it flash people tend not to pay attention to it anymore."