EDMONTON – New solar powered crossing lights are popping up around Edmonton. It’s part of a pilot project the city is testing for the feasibility of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons.
The beacons are similar to the overhead flashing crossing lights except solar powered lights flash at a higher rate and are side mounted on polls rather than going over top of a road.
There are four locations where the lights have been placed: two locations at Donald Massey School in north Edmonton, one on Whyte Avenue and Saskatchewan Drive.
“So far it’s been going well. We haven’t heard any concerns about the devices not working for all the locations,” Craig Walbaum, Director of Traffic Operations, said.
The city is looking at how well the solar powered device works in the winter when less light and cold temperatures impact battery power.
“We’re really trying to see for higher activity levels how does solar panel work in terms of maintaining enough charge to allow those lights to keep working,” Walbaum said.
The flashing beacons are also cost effective. The price of one is between $10,000 to $20,000, where as the overhead flashing crossing lights cost $100,000.
“Part of our cost efficiency, the potential of it anyway of looking at those devices, is to not have to put power in underground and be tied into existing power sources,” Walbaum said.
The solar panel crosswalk lights may be added around more schools and arterial roads where there isn’t enough space to fit the amber lights.
“We’re looking at two dimensions of it: physically what device do we use and what type of locations do we want the device to go in at,” Walbaum said.
The city hopes to roll programs across Edmonton around the use of the device.