Five pedestrian crosswalks to get flashing lights this year

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New safety lights will be similar to those installed at the 216th Street Southwest crosswalk. The flashing beacons are located below the diamond-shaped sign and above the arrow sign. (Photo by Doug Petrowski)
New safety lights will be similar to those installed at the 216th Street Southwest crosswalk. The flashing beacons are located below the diamond-shaped sign and above the arrow sign. (Photo by Doug Petrowski)

New flashing safety lights will be installed at five Mountlake Terrace pedestrian crosswalks this year, thanks to a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation. The funds will also purchase new signal back plates with reflective borders for numerous traffic signals around the city.

The city will receive $191,730 in DOT grant money for the installation of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) at the intersections of 228th Street Southwest/56th Avenue West and at 238th Street Southwest /56th Avenue West in the Town Center district, at 228th Street Southwest/42nd Place West and at 229th Place Southwest/44th Avenue West in east Mountlake Terrace, and at 222nd Street Southwest /66th Avenue West in the Melody Hill neighborhood.

The RRFB installations will be similar to one currently operating on 216th Street Southwest at 68th Avenue West, where yellow lights mounted on poles flash when activated. The flashing lights are designed to alert drivers that a pedestrian is present.

An example of the two stoplights, from the Federal HIghway Administration website. The stoplight on the left has the traffic signal headback plate with a reflective border, while the one on the right has a headback plate with no border.
An example of the two stoplights, from the Federal Highway Administration website. The stoplight on the left has the traffic signal back plate with a reflective border, while the one on the right has a back plate with no border.

The new signal back plates being purchased with the DOT grant will be installed on City of Mountlake Terrace-owned traffic signals, many of which have no back plate, or replacing the back plates already in place that have no reflective borders. The reflective outline around the signal is designed to assist colorblind motorists in identifying which light — red, yellow or green — is illuminated. The reflective borders are also intended to help drivers discern when a power outage or malfunction has disabled the traffic light.

The DOT grant dictates that the crosswalk beacons and the traffic signal back plates must be installed this year.

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