A new traffic signal is to be installed in southeast Berkeley to aid the passage of cyclists and pedestrians.
The signal, to be installed on Ashby Avenue and Hillegass Avenue, will be of a type that is also used by the Arizona Department of Transportation, according to its website. Previously, pedestrians and cyclists had to wait for a break in traffic at stop signs, according to a city of Berkeley press release.
“The “pedestrian hybrid beacon” is triggered by sensors detecting bicyclists or the push button. That prompts a blinking yellow, a solid yellow and then a red light for motorists on Ashby at Hillegass Avenue, which is also a designated bike route,” the press release stated.
According to the press release, the solid yellow light tells drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. The press release also reminds drivers to treat blinking red lights as stop signs.
Along Hillegass Avenue is one of the city’s designated bicycle boulevards, which are a network of roads characterized as “low-volume streets” that are adequate for bicycle traffic, according to the press release. The new signal is intended to further optimize the Berkeley bicycle network, in addition to a “Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon” at the intersection of Tunnel Road and the Uplands, which is intended to aid pedestrian safety.
The introduction of the hybrid signal is expected to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The hybrid signal will be the first to be installed in Berkeley, the press release stated.
According to Ray Martinez, an employee of Mike’s Bikes on University Avenue, the city has a thriving community of cyclists, but people unfamiliar with the city make it unsafe for cyclists.
“The (city’s) infrastructure has improved a lot as well,” Martinez said. “It’s become a lot more crowded, and newcomers are usually not as friendly to cyclists.”
Contact Jasmine Sheena at [email protected].