Town Approves Purchase of Pedestrian-Activated ‘Flashing Beacons’ Alerting Motorists to Foot Traffic at Weed and Elm


Motorists traveling northbound on Weed Street soon will need to pay attention to a flashing beacon indicating that pedestrians have entered a crosswalk leading to a heavily used new sidewalk at the Elm Street intersection.

Town officials last week approved the $16,600 purchase of new pedestrian-activated push-button beacons to alert motorists when people have entered the soon-to-be-striped crosswalks on foot.

The funds are coming from a state grant that New Canaan put in for and received, which also paid for the new sidewalk along the west side of Weed, from Elm to Irwin Park, according to Joe Zagarenski, senior engineer in the Department of Public Works.

“I understand this has the support of Traffic Calming and the Police Commission,” Zagarenski told members of the Board of Selectmen during their July 25 meeting, held at Town Hall.

“These also have a 90 percent adherence rate, so they are very effective,” he said.

New Canaan about five years ago put in a similar “Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons” along Farm Road at Saxe Middle School, and last summer installed the same system on Park Street at God’s Acre.

An early plan to put in stop signs for Weed Street traffic at Elm garnered pushback from some concerned about traffic backup. The crosswalks and new push-button activated signs are an alternative.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the $16,600 purchase, from Bay Shore, N.Y.-based Traffic Systems Incorporated.

Williams asked for clarification on what a “90 percent adherence rate” meant. Zagarenski said that with flashing beacons, motorists actually stop 90 percent of the time when they’re activated.

That compares favorably to a regular crosswalk, according to Police Capt. John DiFederico.

“When someone is coming up to a pedestrian crosswalk, cars don’t stop if they don’t see the person there,” he said.

The same flashing beacons will be installed at Weed and Wahackme Roads, where pedestrians will be able to cross to a newly created “greenway” that cuts east into the woods near that intersection and leads to the New Canaan Nature Center property on Oenoke Ridge Road.

One thought on “Town Approves Purchase of Pedestrian-Activated ‘Flashing Beacons’ Alerting Motorists to Foot Traffic at Weed and Elm

  1. “Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons” will F-I-N-A-L-L-Y be installed at the Main/Farm Road intersection, too.

    Mike, thanks for the follow-up video of that dangerous intersection when we discussed it back in 2013. I suggested flashing beacon years ago to NYPD.

    Farm and Main is a very dangerous intersection not only for drivers but for parents with strollers, walkers, and students who walk back and forth to school.

    My request was finally granted!!!

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