Snohomish County has installed "Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons" on Marine Drive at the crosswalk near 204th Street NE in the Warm Beach area to improve pedestrian safety.
In April 2011, an 86-year-old man using a motorized wheelchair died after being pinned beneath the wheels of a Community Transit bus in the crosswalk.
The crosswalk is located in front of a community for seniors just north of a curve in the road. Marine Drive runs between a mobile home park for seniors and the community's main campus.
Past safety efforts at the location have included brightly colored flags, provided by the local fire department, that walkers were urged to carry when crossing to increase visibility.
The beacons are on poles at each end of the crosswalk and remain dormant until activated by a pedestrian who presses a button on one of the signal poles.
When the button is pressed, rectangular amber beacons will flash rapidly to alert northbound and southbound drivers that a pedestrian is preparing to cross the road.
The rapid flashing beacon traffic safety system has been used effectively in other states across the nation and is the first of its kind in Snohomish County. The $45,000 project was paid for by the county's road fund.
While drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk, pedestrians are reminded to look both ways before crossing the road.