Tag Archives: solar

Over-intersection flashers may give way to sign post flashers

The in basket: I noticed the other day that the intersection of Fircrest Drive and Madrona Drive in South Kitsap’s Parkwood development, which has gotten more than the usual traffic control in the past, has something new.
Above the stop signs for traffic on Madrona wanting to cross Fircrest there now are flashing red beacons with solar sensors above them, their power source.
I didn’t recall seeing anything like them before, though they called to mind the stop signs on Fairgrounds Road at Old Military Road, which are bordered by small red flashing lights.
I asked if they are something new and what it is about Fircrest and Madrona which requires extra attention. Until now, that consisted of a sign warning Madrona drivers that cross-traffic on Fircrest doesn’t have to stop.
The out basket: Kitsap County Traffic Engineer Jeff Shea says, “Both the LED lights bordering the signs (on Fairgrounds Road) and the above sign beacons (on Madrona) are (federally) approved applications to improve sign conspicuity.
“The LED border lights at Old Military and Fairgrounds is the only location with this configuration, although we do have a Warning Arrow sign with LED border lights on Southworth Drive.
“The intersection had a higher than average collision rate, so we decided to enhance the stop signs with the LED lights.  We will be monitoring this site to see if this enhanced conspicuity of the sign reduces collisions.  I have seen some concern noted in the literature about glare from the LEDs obscuring the sign to some degree.
“The (Madrona) sign beacons are currently under a replacement test program.  Our traffic safety team has been doing research on safety related to over-intersection beacons. They found that some motorists are confused on the meaning of the red in one direction and yellow in the other direction. Several jurisdictions around the country are replacing all their intersection beacons with above-sign beacons.
“Currently we have replaced two overhead beacons with above-sign beacons; 30th and Trenton, and Madrona and Fircrest.
“You are correct that this intersection has gotten a lot of attention for safety measures.  We aren’t exactly sure why motorists are having problems, but we will continue to monitor it. If we find that above sign beacons improve safety, we will eventually change out all overhead intersection beacons.”