The installation of a new traffic signal at 44th Avenue W and 214th Street SW was complete last month. I’ve heard many comments from residents that they are happy to finally have a signal at this much needed location. Although the new signal is similar in many ways to the other traffic signals in the city, there are a few features that set it apart:
- The lighting of the intersection is provided by light emitting diode (LED) fixtures, instead of sodium vapor fixtures that are used in nearly all of the city’s street lights. The LED fixtures project a whiter and brighter light, and are significantly more energy efficient.
- The pedestrian curb ramps at this intersection are different from older ramps in the city in order to comply with recent changes in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. The ramps are longer so that the slope down to street level is not as steep. Each corner also has two ramps, one for each crosswalk, so that visually impaired pedestrians are guided to the crosswalk and not to the middle of the intersection.
- The pedestrian push buttons are a new style, with features designed to comply with the new ADA regulations. There is a locator tone, which beeps every few seconds, to help visually impaired pedestrians locate the pushbutton. The pushbuttons have a raised arrow pointing in the direction of the crosswalk which the button controls. This helps visually impaired pedestrians know that they have located the correct push button for the direction which they wish to cross.
- After pressing the button, a small red indicator light turns on so that a pedestrian knows that the button push has been detected. To help the visually impaired, there is also a speech message which says “Wait to cross 44th at 214th…Wait…Wait” or “Wait to cross 214th at 44th…Wait…Wait” depending on which button was pushed. The “Wait” message repeats every few seconds until the walk light comes on.
- When the walk light comes on, there is a speech message which says “44th, Walk sign is on to cross 44th” or 214th, depending on which button was pushed. After a few seconds, the walk symbol changes to a flashing hand and countdown numbers are shown for the remainder of the crossing time, the same as at other signals in Mountlake Terrace. The button vibrates so that pedestrians with visual and hearing impairments can tell that the Walk light is on.