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San Luis Obispo launches new safety beacon near elementary schools

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon
San Luis Obispo activated a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, or PHB, at Foothill Boulevard and Ferrini Road. (City of San Luis Obispo)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - San Luis Obispo city leaders are taking steps to boost safety for pedestrians, particularly young students walking to school.

The city announced Wednesday that it had activated a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, or PHB, at Foothill Boulevard and Ferrini Road, near the Foothill Plaza shopping center.

The city says it is a first of its kind traffic safety measure used in San Luis Obispo County.

Construction first started in July.

The city says it chose the location because it's used regularly by students walking to and from nearby Pacheco and Bishop's Peak Elementary schools.

The PHB won't be lit up unless a pedestrian or bicyclist hits a button to turn it on. It will first flash yellow, then solid yellow, and then a solid red. During the red phase, drivers need to stop and allow people to cross the street. The beacon later alternates to flashing red, which should be treated as a stop sign. Eventually it will go dark when it's no longer in use.

City leaders say they've already reduced traffic collisions by nearly 60 percent over the past 15 years, and this project will help them meet their Vision Zero goal. That goal is to eliminate deadly and severe injury crashes citywide by 2030.

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Lindsay Zuchelli

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