What is a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon?
A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon is a traffic control device used to assist people with safely crossing a busy street .Hybrid Beacons can be installed on streets with regular traffic signals as part of the City’s coordinated signal system. Hybrid Beacons are similar to regular Traffic Signals except are only active for pedestrians crossing the street.
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons are designed to make crossing for pedestrians safer by making it easier for vehicles to become aware of the pedestrian crossing while also causing less disruption to traffic flow.
How does a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon work?
For pedestrians, the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon works similar to other regular Traffic Signals throughout the City.
Lights on the Hybrid Beacon are activated when a pedestrian pushes the button at either end of the crossing. A walk sign will appear when safe for a pedestrian to cross followed by a countdown timer. Just as bicyclists are expected to dismount and WALK their bicyclists in a crosswalk at a traffic signal, they are legally required to do the same while crossing at Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon as well. Similarly, all drivers are reminded to keep an eye out for all crosswalk travelers after they have come to a complete stop.
Unlike regular Traffic Signals, the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon rests in dark and only illuminates when a pedestrian pushes the crossing button. Vehicles are free to proceed when the beacon is flashing red or dark AND when no one is crossing the street.
Motorists should respond to yellow and solid red lights in the same manner as any other traffic signal. After stopping for the red light, motorists may proceed through the crossing area during the flashing red light interval only when safe to do so without risk to pedestrians.
View the the video below of the operation for a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon.
(Video has been referenced from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation)
Click here for handout on how a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon operates
Why are Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons helpful?
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons provide safer crossing alternatives for people walking than traditional crosswalks, especially in mid-block locations with heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons can also be installed at intersections where a full traffic light signalized crossing would not otherwise be warranted.
All of this amounts to easier crossings on busy streets for people walking. Hybrid Beacons have the potential to create safer crossings, reduce crashes and increase driver compliance with crosswalk laws.
How to spot differences between a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon’s regular operation of resting in dark verses a traffic signal that has lost power and gone dark?
- A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon will have signage indicating a crosswalk and for vehicles to stop on red. The Street Name sign will indicate a pedestrian crossing.
- Signal indicator shapes. A regular traffic signal will have signal indicators, commonly with 3 straight vertical indications whereas Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon signal indicators will be “T-shaped” with 2 indications on top and 1 underneath.
Note: A regular traffic signal that is dark where indications are not illuminating should be treated as a stop sign. A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon that is dark should be treated as a regular crosswalk, where vehicles may continue to proceed with caution.
Where does Santa Ana have Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons?
The City of Santa Ana currently has operational or plans to begin operation of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons through early 2023 at the following locations:
- Alton Parkway between Daimler Street & Red Hill Avenue
- Main Street and Walnut Street to be operational on March 27, 2023