By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
BGSU students crossing East Wooster Street will soon have the benefit of lights warning motorists to give pedestrians the right-of-way.
Four pedestrian crosswalks were installed last year on East Wooster Street – one by the Stroh Center, and three between the traffic lights at Manville and South College avenues.
On Tuesday, work will begin to put pedestrian beacons at two of those crosswalks. Installation of the lights is expected to take about a week.
The two pedestrian hybrid beacons will be installed at the Stroh Center and across from McFall Center (just east of Troup Street.) Some minor impact to traffic is anticipated near the Stroh Center during this work.
The beacons consist of three lights – two red lights over one yellow light. The beacon remains dark until a pedestrian hits the activation button, at which time the yellow light will begin blinking followed by a solid yellow light – alerting motorists to prepare to stop. Solid red lights will then be displayed telling drivers that they must stop while pedestrians cross. Once the red lights begin to blink, motorists may proceed if the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians.
At the conclusion of the lighting sequence, the blinking red lights will stop and the beacon will go dark again. The entire interval at both locations will be programmed to last approximately 30 seconds.
Motorists who drive through the crossings while the red lights are shining can be cited for violating a traffic control device, similar to a stoplight violation.
A pedestrian safety study was conducted in the fall of 2015 around the Bowling Green State University campus, to identify locations that may need marked crosswalks.
“They took all likely crossing points,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said last year about the study. “Our goal is to ensure everybody can cross the road.”
The four crosswalks, costing a combined total of $489,191, are being paid for entirely by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Though there are three crosswalks in a very short distance between the existing crosswalks at Manville and South College streets, Fawcett said the study did not foresee any resulting traffic congestion on East Wooster Street.
“They incorporated the traffic counts in their studies,” he said.
Two different types of crosswalks were installed. Two are more traditional crosswalks with “refuge islands” in the middle of the street. The other two will have pedestrian hybrid beacons.
The two pedestrian islands, which have 6-inch high curbs, are located in the middle of East Wooster Street – one near Founders residence hall (just east of Manville Avenue) and the other just west of the Falcon Health Center.
The refuge islands in the middle allow pedestrians to only worry about traffic from one direction at a time.
“The goal for the island is to give a person an opportunity to maximize their safety,” Fawcett said.
“It’s a very good example of a collaborative effort between BGSU, the city and ODOT, working on a common goal,” Fawcett said last year. “We’re pretty fortunate that ODOT is picking up the cost of these.”
The schedule associated with the light installation this week is dependent upon weather and progress of work. Visit the City’s website at www.bgohio.org for more information or to watch an informational video about the use of a pedestrian beacons, or call the Engineering Division with questions at 419-354-6227.