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Community input requested as part of San Luis Obispo pedestrian improvement project

The City of San Luis Obispo is proposing improvements to several crosswalks throughout the city as part of a greater pedestrian improvement project.

Luke Schwartz is the city’s transportation manager. He said the goal of the citywide improvement project is to prioritize safety and comfort for pedestrians.

Schwartz said proposed upgrades to the crosswalk at Johnson Avenue and Sydney Street are designed to heavily consider families commuting to Sinsheimer Elementary School.

He said community members have expressed concern about the high number of cars and speed of traffic on Johnson Avenue. He said the current crosswalk doesn’t quite do the job of getting cars to yield to pedestrians.

“We’re proposing a project that would replace the existing passive beacon system with a more effective push button actuated system that has really vibrant flashing lights,” Schwartz said.

The system is called a Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon. This specific design includes updating the beacon system, replacing the curb ramps to bring them up to ADA compliance and replacing the intersection’s turning lane with a raised concrete median and extra beacon.

Schwartz said several of them have already been installed throughout the city and create a much higher driver yield rate.

“It’s only active when someone [has] pushed the button and is actively ready to cross the street,” Schwartz said. “We think [that] adds a lot of value to the effectiveness and driver attention.”

Schwartz said other intersections the city is looking at improving include South and King, Islay and Broad, Islay and Osos, Leff and Osos, and Ramona near the Foothill Plaza Shopping Center.

Schwartz said the city is inviting community members to express concerns or offer suggestions before the transportation staff bring the final proposal to the city council for approval in late summer or early fall.

Anyone can email traffic@slocity.org or call the general public works access line with comments.

For more details about the proposal, visit the project website.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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