‘People Are Just Not Stopping’: South School Crosswalk To Get Pedestrian-Activated Flashing Beacon


This crosswalk near the driveway from Gower Road to a parking area at South School is now set to get a rapid rectangular flashing beacon for pedestrian safety.

Saying the leadership at South School has flagged a safety issue for kids, town officials on Wednesday approved the installation of a second set of pedestrian-activated flashing beacons on Gower Road.

The Police Commission about one year ago approved a set of “rapid rectangular flashing beacons” or “RRFBs” for a crosswalk leading from a Douglas Road neighborhood pathway to a playground at South. 

During its regular meeting Wednesday night, the Commission approved another set of RRFBs for a crosswalk located further east, near a parking area at the school.

Public Works Director Tiger Mann, in seeking approval from the appointed body, said the new request came from both New Canaan Police School Resource Officer Shane Gibson and South School Principal Matt Kascak.

Though the first set of RRFBs has been helpful is slowing Gower motorists, “the problem still is that cars are not stopping for kids as they want to try to come through the crosswalk,” Mann said.

“And this is probably the major artery for walkers to South School to come down Gower Road and cross this intersection,” he said at the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “So the thought is that he asked for another rapid rectangular flashing beacon at this location to then help with the idea that people would stop, or to promote the stopping. They have a 92% adherence rate, which is probably the best traffic calming measure we have.”

Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Shekaiba Bennett and member Jim McLaughlin voted 3-0 to approve the RRFB installation.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Bennett said.

Mann said he’d already reached out to two traffic consultants—Hardesty & Hanover and Fuss & O’Neill—to ask whether 425 feet is adequate separate between two sets of RRFBs (yes). 

“They had no concerns with the additional installation,” he said. “So it comes back to the Commission for approval. And then should that happen, we’ve received a quote from East Coast Sign for the unit, and we will bring it to the Board of Selectmen for approval and move forward.”

Foley asked whether the new RRFB would be located “at the top of the rise” as Gower passes South School.

Mann said no, “the rise is a little bit further.”

Sightlines are “adequate” at the crosswalk for both eastbound and westbound motor vehicle traffic, he said.

“This location really comes down to the fact that people are just not stopping,” Mann said. “The kids might be standing there at the crosswalk and people are just not stopping. We want to try to increase the conspicuity of the intersection itself, make it a little bit more conspicuous and hopefully we’ll get some more adherence and then allow the kids to cross safely. But they [Gibson and Kascak] brought it to our attention. They’re concerned with this area. They’ve reached out to their population as far as notifying the parents to be aware of it, to ask them to park in different locations, drive slowly, things of that nature, but they think it’s the overall driving population and not necessarily people coming to South School.”

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