Curb ramps should always be installed at mid-block crossings, their presence should be identified using guidance TWSIs across the width of the sidewalk.
While mid-block crossings typically do not warrant a controlled crossing signal, pedestrians with sight loss will not be able to engage drivers through eye contact. Thus, at minimum, a Rectangular Rapid Flashing beacon (RRFB) should be considered. This solution is sub-optimal given that pedestrian activation will not result in a red-light causing motorists to stop. Even if equipped with audio messaging “Caution, Lights are Flashing Yellow” pedestrians unable to make eye contact will need to rely on traffic noise to determine when it is safe to begin their crossing. For roads with only one or two lanes, this may not pose any added risk. However, if crossings require activating a second RRFB located on a refuge island traffic sounds may not be adequate to determine if vehicles have stopped.
The CNIB Foundation recommends that Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHB) be used at uncontrolled mid-block crossings. These devices should be equipped with an accessible pedestrian signal which is activated with the PHB.
A pedestrian hybrid beacon includes the following features:
- Overhead beacons with three sections (circular yellow signal indication centered below two horizontally aligned circular red signals) facing both directions on the major street;
- Overhead signs labeled “CROSSWALK STOP ON RED” to indicate that the location is associated with a pedestrian crosswalk;
- A marked crosswalk on the major street;
- Countdown pedestrian signal heads to control pedestrian crossings at the crosswalk;
- Pedestrian detectors, such as push buttons either activated manually or using sensor technology.
- The pedestrian hybrid beacon rests dark when not in use. When a pedestrian push button or detector is actuated, the beacon begins with a flashing yellow light, followed by a solid yellow light, altering drivers to slow. A solid red light requires drivers to stop while pedestrians have the right-of-way to cross the street.
CNIB recommends that mid-block crossings be equipped with these devices and that cut curbs be installed. These should follow the guidelines contained in the section on intersection design.