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DELTA, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The Ohio Department of Transportation is teaming up with the village of Delta to make crossing the street easier and safer for pedestrians.
ODOT installed a new traffic safety device called a pedestrian hybrid beacon at the intersection of Main Street (U.S. Route 20A) and Wood Street. It is the first device on a state or federal route in Ohio.
"It gets the driver's attention a lot better than your typical crossing would," said Dylan Foukes, traffic maintenance engineer.
Lights on the device stay off until a pedestrian starts crossing the street. A pedestrian can push a button to turn on the lights which start yellow, then turn red to alert drivers to stop.
Traffic engineers believe the system will improve safety for pedestrians since it is only activated when they cross the street.
"It's always important to try new innovations that are out there. This has been tested and proven in other states. And, you know, it's good to get a new installation out here and get drivers used to it," said Foukes.
Residents are happy with the new installation at the busy intersection because it's right near the library and school.
"We need it. I'm very excited! You can't be too safe anymore, that's for sure," said Maryann Brickner.
However, it could take a while for drivers to learn and understand the system. Several cars drove through the red light during its first few hours of operation.
"It will be a learning curve, not only for the community, but for the police department, as well. I've already spoken with officers. Roughly for the first 30 days, I said, let's just be stopping people, making them aware of how it works and handing out the pamphlets," said Police Chief Nathan Hartsock.
Police say they will work with the community to make sure everyone knows how it works.