Beacons for safety

The new RRFB signs call attention to pedestrians crossing between the IARC and APS-TD campuses. Photo: Michael Pfaff

Crosswalks are intended to be a safe zone of travel for pedestrians. Earlier this year, however, there was a rash of complaints that motorists were not yielding the right of way at specific crossings at the convergence of the IARC and APS-TD campuses.

Barriers already exist in this area to provide safety awareness, for example, rumble strips and radar signs to alert drivers of their speed. However, staff have noticed that drivers are still driving through these barriers.

This safety concern was brought up in an all-hands meeting. How could this potential collision hazard could be mitigated?

FESS was approached and, in conjunction with APS-TD and IARC facility management, we proposed and implemented a solution: Install RRFB (rectangular rapid flashing beacon) crosswalk signs. Many from around the Chicagoland region are likely familiar with RRFB signs, which are activated by the pedestrian and act as an additional visual warning to motorists to yield or stop to pedestrians in the crosswalks.

The pedestrians and facility managers at the busy crosswalks have already noticed an improvement in driver awareness and pedestrian safety.

We hope that this improvement will help prevent accidents and help everyone feel they can move safely and conveniently around the site. We also continue to stress to all drivers on the site to follow posted signs and be mindful of pedestrian traffic. Working in a safe environment is Fermilab’s top priority.

Michael Pfaff is the Fermilab roads and grounds manager.