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New Beaches traffic devices could help you cross the street

A pedestrian hybrid beacon.
Florida Department of Transportation
A pedestrian hybrid beacon.

New traffic control devices at the Beaches may help people get across busy streets more safely.

The devices are called "pedestrian hybrid beacons," and they're supposed to help people cross safely at midblock crossings and uncontrolled intersections.

The beacons will be activated Tuesday on 3rd Street at Bay Street in Neptune Beach and on 15th Avenue North in Jacksonville Beach, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

Unlike traditional pre-timed pedestrian traffic signals, the beacons are activated only when a pedestrian needs them, and drivers can proceed once the person has walked past the travel lane. The beacons are called a hybrid because they're an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a full pedestrian signal.

Federal Highway Administration

In general, the beacons are used where it is difficult for pedestrians to cross a roadway, such as when gaps in traffic are not sufficient or speed limits exceed 35 mph, the Federal Highway Administration says.

Installation of a pedestrian hybrid beacon also must include a marked crosswalk and pedestrian countdown signal.

Nearly 74% of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersection locations, and vehicle speeds are often a major contributing factor, the highway administration says.

The improvements at the Beaches are part of a larger project that also includes work on the 3rd Street and Atlantic Boulevard intersection. The overall $1.9 million project is set to be done later this spring.

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.