Flashing beacons will begin to be installed this week at a Foster City intersection known for recent pedestrian-related auto crashes after the City Council rejected a concerted neighborhood effort to have stop signs placed there.
The intersection, at Port Royal Avenue and Edgewater Boulevard, was where a girl was struck by a car earlier this year. The city is spending $66,000 to install six user-activated rectangular rapid flashing beacons at the unsignalized intersection and diagonally restripe the crosswalks, Director of Public Works Brad Underwood said. The signals will be placed on both sides and in the center of the two crosswalks across Edgewater Boulevard, he added.
The beacons use amber LED lights in an irregular flash pattern similar to those on police vehicles and are activated when a user pushes a button, according to the city.
It could take two to three weeks to complete installation, as it requires underground wiring and foundation work, Underwood said.
Edgewater Boulevard is one of the city’s busiest streets and the Port Royal Avenue intersection marks one of the most populated areas in Foster City with churches, a school, parks and a busy shopping center nearby.
The intersection came under public scrutiny after a slew of pedestrian-related car accidents over the course of a few months; the most poignant of which occurred on the morning of Jan. 24 when a 17-year-old girl was hit by a driver while in the crosswalk. The girl was on her way to school around 6:49 a.m. when a woman driving a BMW hit her and sent her to the intensive care unit with serious injuries.
The incidents prompted residents to request slower speed limits throughout many of the city’s busy streets and four-way stop signs at the Port Royal Avenue and Edgewater Boulevard intersection.
However, the council opted not to accede to the public’s request stating lowering speed limits and installing stops signs would go against traffic safety experts’ advice and the California Vehicle Code.
Initially, the council voted to completely remove the intersection but after realizing pedestrians could still legally cross, settled on installing the flashing signs and restriping the crosswalk.
Councilman Herb Perez had pushed for the stop signs but had to recuse himself due to the proximity of the intersection to his home and business.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully it will ameliorate some of the challenges that we have there. It continues to be a perilous intersection, it’s very challenging to cross that street,” Perez said. “Hopefully with an educational effort and the flashing lights, we can get people to be more vigilant about stopping for pedestrians, because that is one of the busiest intersections.”
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