When Upper Arlington's Engineering Division unveiled the first reconstruction of Tremont Road last summer, one of the features of the project was a rapid-flashing beacon that pedestrians could activate to help them cross the street between Tremont Center and the Upper Arlington Public Library's main branch.
Now the city is planning to install a similar device on North Star Road, and City Engineer Jackie Thiel said she plans to ask that the same equipment be used elsewhere in Upper Arlington.
"The rectangular rapid-flashing beacon equipment is for the crosswalk across North Star from Guilford to the OSU bike path," Thiel said. "This equipment will be installed to improve driver awareness of the crossing, similar to the crossing on Tremont from Tremont Center to (Tremont Elementary School) and library.
"The beacons are push-button activated and therefore only flashing when a pedestrian is present."
Thiel said the city is working with American Electric Power to locate a power source for the crossing beacon.
"Then work should begin next month with completion this summer," she said.
Thiel said the city would look to add the beacons as pedestrian-safety features in other parts of the city over time.
Currently, she said, one is being planned as part of a 2019 project to enhance walkability and bicycling amenities on Andover Road near Barrington Elementary. She said she also plans to propose one in the 1600 block of West Lane Avenue if plans are approved for a 7,600-square-foot J. Liu restaurant and a 90,864-square-foot Home2 Suites by Hilton at 1640 W. Lane Ave.
Upper Arlington City Council President Debbie Johnson supported the North Star beacon as way to enhance pedestrian and vehicle safety in an area that's often used, especially by people walking to and from OSU football games.
"To me, it's a step down from a traffic signal when traffic signals aren't warranted," Johnson said. "It's really just a safety precaution."
The rest of council concurred when it voted unanimously May 22 to approve a $96,459 contract with Baldwin and Sours to install the beacon and other traffic signal equipment.
In addition to the North Star crossing feature, the city plans to replace aging equipment where needed at signalized intersections in UA. This equipment uses video imaging to detect the presence of a vehicle at a traffic light and then triggers the signal to cycle and turn green for vehicles traveling in that direction.
The contract also will fund global-positioning system "preemption" equipment, designed to make it easier for Upper Arlington Fire Division vehicles to get through signalized intersections. The GPS pre-emption equipment, which is already installed at 24 other city intersections, uses GPS data to initiate traffic signal changes for verified emergency vehicles.