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Crosswalk signal in Ashland will be repaired

The flashing yellow crosswalk signal at Siskiyou Boulevard and Palm Street in Ashland has been out of order for months, perhaps dating as far back to late last summer.

When is this safety hazard going to be repaired and operational again?

— Robert J., Ashland

That out-of-order crosswalk signal has generated a lot of calls to the city of Ashland, Robert.

According to city officials, the pole holding the warning beacon was hit by a moving van in October, destroying the signal. The city then ordered a new unit that arrived on Jan. 14. However, the city electrician has been tied up on another project so the new beacon isn't installed yet.

Scott Fleury, engineering services manager for the city, said he expected the beacon to be up and operating by next week.

There are four pedestrian-activated flashing beacons on Siskiyou Boulevard between South Mountain Avenue and Wightman Street. They are designed to flash only when activated by a pedestrian who wants to cross Siskiyou Boulevard.

Robert, as you know, this is an area frequented by a lot of students at Southern Oregon University.

The university, as part of its new dormitory project, had planned to install four new high-intensity beacons to replace the older-style lights on Siskiyou.

Fleury said the city will take care of one of those four, by replacing the damaged Palm Street beacon with the newer style.

The beacons cost $8,000 to $10,000 for each crossing, he said.

The control units for the lights are custom-made, which is the main reason it has taken so long to get the new beacon control system, Fleury said.

The city has some words of advice for pedestrians using the crosswalk: Even when the signal is flashing, pedestrians should use caution and check to be sure that drivers in each lane are aware of your presence and that vehicles are able to stop before you step off the curb and enter the lane.

Look for approaching traffic before stepping into any crosswalk. The flashing beacons are not a traffic signal and drivers are not required to stop if they cannot do so safely.

For drivers, the city also offers some words of warning:

If you see a flashing beacon, a pedestrian is intending to cross the street. State law requires drivers to stop if they can do so safely and remain stopped until the pedestrians have cleared the drivers' lane and the adjacent lane.

Passing another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk is a violation of state law and is particularly dangerous because the stopped vehicle may be shielding a crossing pedestrian from the view of other drivers.

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