To improve pedestrian safety, 3 new Rapid Flashing Crossing Beacons coming to downtown Snoqualmie

As a move to improve safety, three new pedestrian-activated flashing crossing beacons will be coming to downtown Snoqualmie by fall 2020.

At the January 27th Snoqualmie City Council meeting, councilmembers voted 6-1 to approve an agreement with the State Transportation Board to accept $150,000 in grant funds that will be put toward installing the crossing beacons at the intersections of SR 202/King, SR 202/River, plus a third located between the two intersections – in the middle of the downtown retail area.

The grant requires a 20% matching, but the city had already budgeted approximately $1.5 million for the SR 202 Pedestrian Signal Project.

The project will not require the full $1.5 million that was budgeted, though. It is estimated to cost much less – $440,000 – so the with the grant funds, the city’s portion will be about $290,000.

Two residents, Wayne Russell and Fuzzy Fletcher, addressed the council during public comment time, asking the city to a install full stoplight at the busy Railroad and River Street intersection. They noted it is often very difficult for drivers to turn left onto SR 202 and get to the other side of the downtown core.

Councilmember Peggy Shepard, who voted no on the agreement, said she wanted another traffic stuffy done at the intersection to see if it might qualify for the stoplight.

Public Works Director Brian Krause said the 2018 traffic study showed car trips on SR 202 met warrants required to qualify for the stoplight, but car trips on River Street did not. Based on the warrant descriptions in the Manual of Uniformed Traffic Control Devices, it was determined a full traffic signal is not warranted at this intersection at this time.  Kause added, should traffic significantly increase from River St to SR 202, a new study would be completed and assessed.

Snoqualmie Communications Manager Joan Pliego said the city considers this 2018 study current traffic data. She explained because SR 202 is a state roadway, the study was performed by WSDOT and so it would have to perform and assume costs for any additional traffic studies. The state also had to approve the new flashing beacons, which it did.

The project will install Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) at three downtown pedestrian crossings on Railroad Ave. (See example below). They are different than the HAWK crosswalk light installed at the Snoqualmie Parkway/Fisher intersection last year.

Councilmember Sundwall said this project will greatly improve pedestrian safety downtown, where during the rainy and dark months it is very difficult to see people in the crosswalks. He noted the project is also expected to install flashing reflectors in the roadway of the crosswalks.

The project is currently in design phase. It will be put out for bid in April with construction expected to be completed in October 2020.

Example of a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs)
Red outline shows the area where the new flashing beacons will be installed

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