Carmanah’s Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) make school zone crossings safer to help students get active
In collaboration with the City of Des Plaines, IL, the Active Transportation Alliance, and School District 62, Carmanah’s rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) system was installed at a busy pedestrian crossing that services four different schools.
The system was installed in an effort to get children walking and biking to school. This was the inauguration of the new system.
“There’s an obesity crisis across the country and we’ve got to keep our kids moving,” says Barbara Cornew of Active Transportation Alliance. “Having safe streets to walk and bike to school is a really really critical part of it, and it also makes everything safe for the residents as well.”
“Parents were interviewed and a lot of people submitted surveys, and they actually said that for over fifty percent of the respondents, their kids had asked about walking to school” Barbara continues. “This was just so much fun to have something new that is for the community.”
“[Active Transportation Alliance was] given this beautiful solar-powered [rectangular rapid-flashing beacon,] so we sat down with a number of our clients that had developed active transportation plans and analyzed their streets. They found that Des Plaines was a perfect city to figure out the proper place to install this solar-powered flashing [crosswalk] beacon.”
“One of the things that makes this location stand out is the fact that it serves four schools,” says Derek Peebles, a civil engineer from the City of Des Plaines.
“This is a non-signalized crossing, so it was a perfect location to put in [RRFBs] that it can be controlled by the people who have come here to walk across the street—be it the children the staff or the parents,” Barbara states.
“Hopefully, this [RRFB] will bring the safety of students to mind and make people aware of [school crossings,]” Dan Wilson, 7th Ward Alderman of the City of Des Plaines, says. “Something new, something very visible—[these RRFBs] should accomplish [improving the safety of the school crossing.]”
“One of the things that was nice about this [RRFB installation] is that it can be installed by our public works crews using existing equipment—in that sense, it’s really easy and a quick process,” Derek notes. “Some of the other improvements are infrastructure improvements, like curb extensions and changing the pavement, which tend to be much more expensive and take a lot longer.”
“In a leadership position, you are always looking to improve the quality of life the citizens of your community,” Dan says. “It is necessary to keep moving forward and to use advanced technological advancements and try new ideas—everything that can improve safety and bring a sense of awareness to our citizens to protect our residents and, first of all, our children.”