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Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - City of Charleston, MUSC, Roper Hospital partner to install crosswalk

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Aug. 26, 2015) – A collaboration among the city of Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina and Roper Hospital has led to new eye-catching crosswalk signage on Courtenay Drive that will make the area safer for pedestrians.

The solar-powered Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon signage is the first of its kind to be installed in the city of Charleston. Roper Hospital and MUSC split the cost of the $30,000 sign. The city obtained the necessary permits, installed the sign and will maintain it.

“With the current volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area, we realized that a different treatment was needed to enhance the safety of the crosswalk,” said city of Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. “The Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon offers one of the highest level of pedestrian signage conspicuity to alert drivers of the presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk. We are extremely excited to have teamed up with Roper St. Francis and MUSC once again in an effort to continue to increase pedestrian safety in our city.”

The signs are activated by pedestrians pushing a button or by the sign’s automatic pedestrian detection system. The signage will help improve pedestrian safety. In the past six years, eight pedestrians have been hit by vehicles at this intersection. 

MUSC and Roper Hospital employees regularly use the crosswalk. MUSC owns a nearby parking garage, and Roper Hospital leases about 700 of those spaces for its employees.

A former Roper Hospital employee suggested more prominent signage for the location, and the city, MUSC and Roper Hospital worked together to bring the idea to life.

“We were grateful to work in partnership with the city and MUSC on this important safety initiative,” said Matt Severance, chief executive officer of Roper Hospital. “The well-being of our teammates is of paramount importance, and this effort will significantly enhance safe pedestrian crossing at Courtenay Drive.”

MUSC leaders have forged a partnership with Roper St. Francis in a longer term effort to make the area a more green and pedestrian-friendly Medical District.

“As the campus continues to thrive on the peninsula, more and more pedestrians and bikers are coming to the Medial District campuses,” said Dennis Frazier, MUSC Facilities and Capital Improvements administrator. “We are all striving to make sure that people are able to safely cross the street, and we also want to provide a pleasant and efficient pedestrian commute for our employees and our neighbors.”

The city of Charleston has worked for years to inform pedestrians and drivers on ways to make the city more walkable and safe as part of its Pedestrian Safety Program. Officials urged all drivers to be mindful of pedestrians in crosswalks, especially as schools have resumed. 

The new signage at the Courtenay Drive crosswalk is called a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon. It’s the same kind of sign that was installed three years ago at the Park West crosswalk in Mount Pleasant after a pedestrian was struck. 

One Federal Highway Administration-sponsored evaluation of the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon found it to be dramatically more effective at increasing driver yielding rates to pedestrians. Vehicles were far more likely to yield – an increase from less 2 percent to 82.2 percent – with the addition of the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon signage.

“The novelty and unique nature of the stutter flash may elicit a greater response from drivers than traditional methods,” according to the Federal Highway Administration.
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