Posted on

Bay Area City Pioneers First Solar Powered System to Use TS1000

Vallejo California

A need for increased parking lead to pedestrians crossing a busy one lane road. City officials responded by improving safety with crosswalk lighting. Vallejo, CA is now home to its first solar powered in-pavement warning light crosswalk system.

When the City of Vallejo, CA expanded their civic service center, they planned for increased parking facilities to accommodate the increase in visitors to the center. As part of the project, the safety of these visitors was taken into account. A key crosswalk connecting the overflow parking area to the building complex was identified for safety enhancement, and an in-pavement warning light crosswalk system from Traffic Safety Corp. (TSC) was chosen. Ted Vaeches, Marketing Manager for TSC, explains the basis for the decisions, “Located on Virginia Street, the crosswalk from the overflow parking facility to the main building complex was chosen for safety enhancement treatment because of the large increase of car and pedestrian traffic expected at this crossing. As for what type of treatment to use, the City had previously installed a TSC in-pavement warning light system and was very pleased with the effectiveness of the system at reducing accidents. Deploying a second TSC system was an easy decision.”

The effectiveness of the TSC system is due to a combination of the bi-directional design and brightness of the in-pavement lights, the high visibility of the flashing LED pedestrian crossing signs, and the TS1000 system controller’s ability to generate and automatically sequence enhanced flash patterns.

City officials began coordinating with TSC dealer Ed Campbell to work out a solution. After studying the site, they drafted a plan. Vallejo would soon be home to the City’s first solar crosswalk. Ed explains the equipment selection, “Vallejo chose to go with a solar powered TS1000 system because of its ease and speed of deployment. Virginia Street is a one-way street, but because of the location of the main parking lot exit, there is a possibility of cars exiting and driving in the wrong direction. For this reason, bi-directional TS-600 fixtures were selected. The bi-directional design would also allow for highlighting and silhouetting of pedestrians at night or low light conditions, improving the visibility of the pedestrians during these critical times. Two flashing LED signs were added, further increasing the visibility of the crosswalk. A basic push-button activation device was selected based on the public’s familiarity with the device, and its ease of use.”

Going solar makes for faster system deployment, reduced remediation issues, and lower operating costs. Foreman Electrician Dustin Rubio with Mike Brown Electric, enjoyed those benefits firsthand, “Installing a solar powered system was a positive experience. There was no need to rely on a power connection from a power or utility company. That’s instant gratification for us! Hook-up to the grid can be a hassle. Depending on your contacts at the power or utility company, it can take a long time to schedule the hook-up and have the system fully functional.”

Installers were pleased to be provided with an onsite briefing by Ted Vaeches. Ted explains, “Our installation documentation is very complete, but to ensure an issue-free installation, it is our policy to contact the onsite project manager and provide them with a briefing on the system. The actual installation is quite simple, so the briefing takes just ten minutes or so. We point out that the fixtures need to be installed level with the road and aligned parallel with the direction of traffic. We also point out that a drain is required below the fixture, typically a simple French drain. Finally, we point out that the system supplies a low voltage DC control signal to the warning devices and that the cable color codes for DC wiring must be used. By being aware of these three simple facts, most, if not all, installation issues can be avoided.”

Sometimes, despite all precautions, a wiring error or problem is encountered. Ted Vaeches explains, “In this installation, when the system was turned on, the fixtures didn’t flash as expected. The system disconnects, located in the TS1000 controller enclosure, allowed us to quickly isolate the street wiring from the system controller. We then quickly determined that the cause was a short in the street wiring. The problem was traced to a sliver of wire located between two splices and was quickly repaired. Upon completion of the repair and replacement of a blown fuse, the system worked perfectly.” Dustin Rubio went on to add, “Other manufacturers’ fixtures might require fewer steps to install, but they’re pretty cheesy. Lights come loose from the roadway and we’ve had to replace them. TSC systems require a little more labor, but overall they’re a more durable, higher quality system.”

Once activated, it wasn’t long before the system started attracting fans and new users. Dustin Rubio commented on the results, “It looked great. It’s a solid, durable system. City officials were happy and appreciated the work. Employees from the surrounding building began using the system and we’re really happy with the added safety it provides.”

More info:
Crosswalk Warning Lights

Posted on

Taking Safety to the Next Level at Denver Pavilions

Denver Pavilions

A new crosswalk was needed at the Pavilions to allow shoppers access to both sides of the center. To enhance safety, the crosswalk was illuminated with in-pavement warning lights from Traffic Safety Corp.

Gart Properties, new owner of the Denver Pavilions shopping center, had the dream of creating a more attractive and cohesive retail scene in the heart of the city. Semple-Brown Design Architects was hired to modify entry points into the Pavilions, illuminate stairways, add an escalator, and install video screens and lighting effects.

The firm was also directed to improve the circulation of shoppers throughout the center. One major obstacle was the busy two-way street separating the two sides of the complex. Matt Trasen, Gart Properties, explains the situation, “Most people only shop on one side of the center because they won’t risk crossing the busy street, which separates the two sides.” To improve safety, a concrete safety barrier with embedded lights and an in-pavement crosswalk warning light system were designed.

Once the decision was made to use in-pavement lights, the question came down to which system to use. The selection criteria included: a wired system for added reliability; AC power, instead of solar, for 24/7 operation; fully-flush fixtures to provide a snowplow proof installation; and blue, low power LED fixtures to fit the color scheme of the center. After investigating what was available on the market, the decision was made to go with the TS-600 fixture from Traffic Safety Corp. (TSC). In addition to meeting all specified requirements, the TS-600’s bi-directional capability further enhanced safety by improving pedestrian visibility at night, and the self-cleaning lens design reduced the need for maintenance.

Semple-Brown Design Architects contacted TSC National Sales Manager Charles Cunningham to help place the order. Charles explained to them that the use of steadily illuminated, blue LEDs was a deviation from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) guidelines. An exception to the MUTCD guidelines was needed. Determined to employ blue LEDs in their crosswalk system, they pursued the request for an exception with the City of Denver and the Colorado DOT. Eventually, Semple-Brown was rewarded with approval to move forward. Based on the design and length of the crosswalk, twenty-two TS-600 fixtures were ordered.

Design Electric was hired to install the fixtures. Kevin Bushman, Electrical Foreman, describes his installation experience, “This is the first time I’ve seen a system so easy to install. It went in quickly and it’s worked ever since. It’s appealing and attractive. They highlight the crosswalk and improve the visibility of pedestrians. The general public loves them. They love using that crosswalk. It calls driver attention from the road to the people. Drivers started reacting to them immediately. They actually notice the crosswalk, slow down, and stop when people are crossing. Before, they would drive through the crosswalk without slowing down.”

Dalton Davis, Project Architect with Semple-Brown, shared his thoughts, “The crosswalk safely connects and promotes the flow of pedestrians between the two sides of the center. The project is a definite success because the system accomplishes what it’s intended to do, alert drivers to pedestrians in the crossing area.” Matt Trasen, of Gart Properties commented on the effectiveness of the system, “As a warning to oncoming cars, the lights are effective. Instantly from the day it opened there’s been a steady stream of people crossing there, some pushing baby carriages, some with wheelchairs, and others carrying shopping bags. The system has helped increase circulation in the mall. It was a successful project.” Trent Lockett, general contractor with the Buchanan Yonushewski Group, also commented on the visual appeal, “I have to say the blue color is nice. The lights are bright, and they serve the function that the architect had in mind, which is to illuminate the street, highlight the crossing and pedestrians, and get the attention of drivers. Even during the day the LEDs are bright.” With high marks for both safety and style, the installation at the Denver Pavilions was a complete success. Most of all, the shoppers at the Denver Pavilions are benefitting from a safer crossing.

More info:
Crosswalk Warning Lights

Posted on

Six Crosswalk Systems Improve Safety at University of North Florida

University of North Florida

Six inpavement lighting systems were installed at major student crossings on campus. In addition, speed humps and raised tables were included as part of a scheduled repaving project. These improvements helped reduce speeds and increase pedestrian safety.

Traffic Safety Concerns
As part of its ongoing campus traffic safety program, the University of North Florida (UNF), located in Jacksonville, recently decided to improve safety at their student crossings. Zak Ovadia, Director for Campus Planning, Design & Construction, shares the motivation behind their decision, “Enrollment was on the rise. We were seeing both an increase in the number of students, and an increase in the amount of traffic on campus. Six non-signalized, mid-block crossings were targeted for the traffic safety enhancements.”

Comprehensive Solution
As part of a comprehensive traffic safety improvement solution, inpavement warning lights combined with above ground flashing LED signs were used. The decision to use inpavement warning lights was made by Zak Ovadia. Zak comments, “I’ve seen these systems installed at the University of Western Florida in Pensacola, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, and at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. After observing their performance, I knew they would be effective at improving traffic safety at UNF.” After due deliberation, Traffic Safety Corp’s (TSC) in-pavement warning light system was chosen because of its reputation for effectiveness and reliability.

Installation Work Begins
The project required installing six in-pavement warning light systems, a total of fifty fixtures, plus four sets of flashing LED warning signs. Doug Ribbeck, Owner of DBR Installations Inc., was in charge of getting the equipment operational. He describes the installation experience, “We had never done a TSC installation before, but we were able to complete the installations without difficulty. The documentation from TSC was great. It was comprehensive and easy to understand.” Cary Hudkins of Transportation Control Systems, distributor for TSC in Florida, was on site and provided technical assistance. Cary comments, “Following the steps outlined in the installation manual, the installers were able to quickly install the system.” Mr. Ribbeck was pleased with the results of their work. “Once we were finished with the first installation, we took a step a back and appreciated how well the system operated. As installers, we were pleased with the ease of the installation, and on how well the system operates.”

Systems Operating Effectively
As the systems were installed, installers began noticing changes in driver behavior. Doug Ribbeck describes his observations, “The changes in drivers’ behavior were amazing. Drivers began responding to the new systems by slowing down and driving more slowly as they approached the crosswalks.” John Hale, Director of Physical Facilities at UNF, comments on the crosswalk systems, “Our crosswalk warning light systems are very reliable and designed to flash continuously. The warning they provide to drivers while they approach the crossings is undeniable. Drivers are slowing down. There’s a quantifiable change in their behavior. The warning light systems and the raised roadway [speed humps and raised tables] have cut driver speed in half, from 30 mph to about 15 mph.”

Positive Impact on Safety
Zak Ovadia was very pleased with the results, “Personally, I loved it. It’s a successful project because it has improved traffic safety on campus.” John Hale comments, “The response has been very positive, we’ve received calls from parents and others asking what they are, asking for more info so they can get them installed in other locations. The lights really help the students by alerting drivers that they are approaching a crossing that may be in use, and to slow down and be prepared to stop. No other area in the city has anything as effective. We’re happy knowing that we’re doing everything possible to keep our students safe.”

More info:
Crosswalk Warning Lights

Posted on

Manhattan Light Sculpture Features TSC Lights

Manhattan Light Sculpture

Over fifty fixtures were used to beautify a cul-de-sac in Battery Park City, near Ground Zero. Sleek, low-profile TS-600s were selected for the project. The lights flash in sequence as part of a multicolored light sculpture at the end of West Thames Street.

Battery Park City on Manhattan’s Lower West Side is an upscale area of the city with multi-million dollar apartments located right outside the financial district. When a dimly lit cul-de-sac was targeted for improvement, the City Authority wanted it done with style. They turned to award-winning Audrey Matlock Architects for guidance.

The firm developed an artistic way to illuminate the area. Audrey Matlock describes the design, “It’s a light sculpture, an art installation. The lights are arranged in a radiating circular pattern. There’s diamond steel plating and strips of concrete in the middle. Lights are placed in the different parts of the circle.” There were specific considerations to make in selecting materials. She continues, “We were looking for a fixture we could use in the roadway. It had to be snowplowable, driveable, and attractive. We wanted LED lighting for the least amount of maintenance. Traffic Safety Corporation’s (TSC) TS-600 light fixture met all these requirements. It’s a good product, and they worked out really well.”

Fully-flush TS-600 fixtures were customized with yellow and blue LEDs. The array was set to run automatically by adjusting settings on the TSC system controller. The flexibility of the controller allowed them to run everything without activation devices. Mike Manteo, with PJS Electric, Inc., lead the installation, “This project was unique for us, we’d never seen anything like it. It was our first time using in-ground lighting, but the instructions made it all pretty intuitive. We read over the instructions before
doing the work, called a local rep and had our questions answered right away. The equipment was great, and so were the results.”

Once everything was hooked up Mike saw the lights in action, “We activated it during the day, stood back, and were surprised by the brightness of the LEDs. They were impressive even during the day. At night they were extremely bright, even lighting up the ground around them. Aubrey Matlock’s team deserves credit for doing a great job. They orchestrated the activation so the lights flash in sequence, it’s really something.”

Shahidul H. Joarder, PE Lead Electrical Engineer with Dewberry, was consulted on more technical aspects of the project. “After seeing the system up and running for the first time, I was proud. It’s really an art project, more about form than function. Spotlights shoot up into the sky, and others are controlled to flash in order. I’m excited to bring my family over there to check it out. It looks great with the multicolored lights.”

Chris Pagnielli of Traffic Systems Inc. was the local TSC rep covering the project. “All involved were happy with the outcome. They really like the TS-600 fixture and the flexibility of the controller. Support on our end was above and beyond. We answered questions quickly for the customer from the quote process on down. We worked closely with the electrical engineer and covered all the details. TSC headquarters did a fantastic job expediting the shipment at the customer’s request. The results are great. The system really alters the space in an attractive way. It looks good and makes a big difference.”

Posted on

Florida’s Crosswalk Lighting System Boosts Walkability

Melbourne Florida

The City of Melbourne, Florida recently joined the ever-growing list of cities choosing crosswalk lighting for increased pedestrian safety. The recent Crane Creek Promenade waterfront improvement project included a Traffic Safety Corp. system to improve walkability.

Melbourne, Florida recently undertook a project to beautify and enhance walkability along Melbourne Boulevard near the Crane Creek Promenade. A variety of improvements were made, including decorative street lighting, new sidewalks and most eye-catching of all, a new crosswalk lighting system.

The system of warning lights and flashing signs was installed at a crosswalk connecting parking near the waterfront to Homes Park across the road. The heavily trafficked mid-block crossing sees surges of foot traffic during weekend art fairs. Officials decided to install the warning lights to prevent pedestrian safety issues from developing at the new crossing.

The solar-powered system was designed to run completely off-the-grid, by using fixtures and signs with low power requirements. Choosing the renewable energy option helps keep lifetime operating costs extremely low. Flashing TS30 warning signs were placed at a distance from, and directly at, the crosswalk location. The flashing signs provide early warning of a crosswalk in use. These signs are particularly helpful at locations like this one, where drivers approach the crosswalk immediately after rounding a curve.

Five fully-flush TS-600 LED light fixtures were chosen for this installation because their self-cleaning lens design keeps them free of debris. This is particularly important on sloped crossings like this. Bi-directional fixtures both illuminate and backlight pedestrians while they cross at night. Light from both sides of the fixtures combine to create a wide array of flashing light for high visibility and driver compliance.

TSC dealer Cary Hudkins, Sales Engineer with Transportation Control Systems, describes the install, “It went really smoothly. One contractor was directing traffic while another basically did the entire installation. They put the lights in really quick. I was on site to help, but they only had a couple basic questions. Once they had answers, they went off and did the whole thing. On the first activation, it worked great – and it looked great, too.” Jack Thornhill, Area Superintendent with The Signal Group Inc. performed the installation, “I was in the street, doing the wiring. It was a really easy installation, I had a fun time doing it. Basically, I wired it myself. TSC was really great, very informative, and when we had a question they provided a quick response. Without a doubt I’d like to do it again. I’d really like to see more of these systems.”

Engineering Compliance Inspector for Melbourne, Martin Koehler, wasn’t sure what to expect, “I was skeptical at first. I mean, it’s a significant installation cost. But, people use it and cars actually stop. The benefit is worth the cost. When I first used it, I was like ‘Wow! It actually works!’ It gets motorists to notice pedestrians. They slow down when they see the lights blinking and stop when they realize a person is crossing. I’ve used it myself, and it worked…even at night.”

The City of Melbourne is taking action to address pedestrian safety issues before they become problems. The solar-powered, long-life system of LED warning lights will continue to support safer crossings at the Crane Creek Promenade. This “off-the-grid” solution has earned them a position on the ever-growing list of municipalities using crosswalk lighting to keep communities safe and walkable for all pedestrians.

More info:
Crosswalk Warning Lights