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Posted on: November 14, 2018

Pedestrian crossing at 20th & Murphy Boulevard uses new technology

Rect Rapid Flashing Beacon - signal pole

The construction along East 20th Street is nearly completed with new road surface, sidewalks, streetlights, and a pedestrian crossing with safety enhancements. Location of this crossing is at the Murphy Boulevard intersection and is adjacent with a pullout along 20th Street that serves as a stop along the Sunshine Lamp Trolley route.

As drivers travel this completed section, motorists should watch for pedestrians crossing the street. To help with this, a new safety device has been installed. Known as a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB), it provides a flashing light at this well-defined crossing to alert motorists that a pedestrian wants to cross the street. The RFBB technology is located on both shoulders and along the island in the middle of 20th Street between the east and westbound lanes. Transportation officials noted that the RFBB provides an extra safety measure that isn’t offered in a basic crosswalk.

“This enhancement to the crossing on 20th Street makes it safer and easier for citizens to cross the street,” said David Hertzberg, Public Works Director. “It serves as a warning signal to drivers, so they can yield to pedestrians in the area. Drivers may have seen this technology in other cities, and we want them to be aware of this new crossing along 20th Street. As a five-lane road, it does take time to cross and drivers should allow the pedestrians a safe passage as they walk to their destination.”

The RRFB is simple for pedestrians to use. With just a push of a button, the RRFB is activated. The signal then begins to flash a warning light to notify drivers of a pedestrian in the area waiting to cross. Pedestrians should use caution using an RRFB and should ensure that motorists have stopped before moving into the street crossing by making eye contact with the driver. The lights are set to flash long enough to give pedestrians time to cross to the island. At the island, pedestrians will need to activate the RFBB for the remainder of the crossing. After pedestrians cross, the flashing light will stop, notifying drivers that it is safe to proceed.

Both pedestrians and drivers need to be aware of this new intersection and the simple process it uses to enhance a safe environment for both types of travelers. “We recognize that many people walk or bike throughout Joplin, and this new crossing provides a safety measure that will benefit our community,” said Hertzberg.

Motorists are reminded that Joplin Ordinance Sec. 114-752 states: When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. 

The signal will become operational during the week of November 19, 2018.