Crossing Bridge Street in Redwood Falls can be a challenge for pedestrians, but those walkers may be receiving a bit of help from the City of Redwood Falls.

At its Sept. 17 meeting, the city council received a request to install what is known as a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon at one of the most heavily trafficked intersections in the city - Bridge and Lincoln streets.

The idea of installing some sort of pedestrian aid at that location was addressed by Mayor Tom Quackenbush, who said he had been approached by some residents wondering if there was something that could be done to make that intersection safer. 

Quackenbush and city staff then began researching options for that site and came up with the flashing beacon concept for the intersection, which was also based on an indication from the Minnesota Department of Transportation that it would be the most effective safety improvement.

The proposed system would include flashing beacons on the crosswalk signs that would be activated by pedestrians pushing a button.

According to Keith Muetzel, city administrator, the state transportation department did conduct a review of that location and concluded that the intersection warrants the installation of the flashing beacon, as it is a primary crossing for the downtown area and also for people who travel to Ramsey Park.

The cost to install the flashing beacon would be in the $18,000 range, which includes $7,500 in equipment, $8,500 for a topographic study and plans preparation and $2,000 for the installation.

The addition of this safety improvement would be the responsibility of the city, and it would then also be required to cover the costs to operate and maintain it.

Muetzel added that there may be added costs based on further review from the department of transportation, as it considers issues such as Americans With Disabilities (ADA) compliance.

Having just made ADA improvements as part of a recent upgrade of that street, one would assume that would not be an issue, said Muetzel.

The board approved moving forward with the flashing beacon project.