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TELL US: Which Lake Forest Intersections Need Countdown Signals?

City Council asks staffers to look into which intersections could benefit from pedestrian countdown signals.

When pedestrians go to cross a Lake Forest thoroughfare, they may soon face numbers counting down rather than the traditional red hand or white silhouette in motion.

City leaders on Tuesday directed staff to determine which intersections are most in need of the new signals, which officials said deter drivers from intruding into intersections and intimidating walkers. 

“I think that they’re really a great gift to mankind, so to speak,” Councilwoman Marcia Rudolph said, lauding the signals as a benefit to the elderly and disabled. 

Eventually, all traffic intersections in Lake Forest should have a countdown signal, she said.

“We do need to look at those places that are heavily used,” said Mayor Kathryn McCullough, who originally brought up the discussion topic at a previous council meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Voigts cautioned his colleagues to consider the cost of the signals before installing them “here, there and everywhere.”

Public Works Director Tom Wheeler said the signals cost $800 a piece; $6,400 to outfit a four-way intersection.

Signals "last a long time," Wheeler said, guessing that most of those in place in Lake Forest are the signals originally installed.

Officials suggested priority for intersections near senior housing, schools without crossing guards, and high-traffic areas.

Which, if any, Lake Forest intersections should get pedestrian countdown signals? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS.

MisturChips October 04, 2012 at 09:59 PM
I enjoy the countdown Ped-Heads almost as much as 'left turn yield on green' intersections. They allow folks to KNOW when they just be ready to 'get movin' to either clear the crosswalk, NOT enter the crosswalk with 4 seconds to go, and allows drivers less stress by knowing how long they have to wait before they can expect a signal to change. Personal opinion is that they all should get 'em, eventually. Sure, schools (with or without crossing guards), parks, and dense neighborhood areas are a great start, but in reality, this will probably be more of a 'whenever a signal is broken, replace it with one of these' type things. This allows the 'broken' signals to be replaced, when there are no spare parts available from the other working Ped-Heads left over from previous retrofits. Bring 'em on, PLEASE!
Sarah de Crescenzo (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 11:07 PM
MisturChips, thanks for sharing your thoughts! Sounds like you're of the same mindset as the council members who brought up the topic.
John Ebany October 04, 2012 at 11:19 PM
With all the traffic in Lake forest, REALLY? Fix the traffic lights first.Do something about the traffic snarl every morning at Pittsford Elementary. People need to get to work in the mornings and thats area is a disaster. No Emergency vehicles could get through if a persons life depended on it. How about a left turn light at Dimension and Enterprise Ct.? Takes 20 min to get to Lake Forest every day. But who cares about tax payers?
Sarah de Crescenzo (Editor) October 04, 2012 at 11:53 PM
John, sounds like you think this should be further down on the city's list of improvements than a number of other traffic fixes. Do have any ideas about what could be done at Pittsford? I know how jammed up that gets when school's getting in (and out).
MisturChips October 05, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Left turn arrows are EVIL. Acceptable, though, if the intersection is also left turn yield on green, though, as traffic won't be stopped unless the left turner doesn't get off the sensing loop for some time. Have you through about coming up the other way so you'll turn right? That can be quite efficient (more distance, but less time / fuel by not jamming on the brakes!).
Kitty Kat October 05, 2012 at 03:44 AM
They could put in some areas the sound bites for the visually impared. Like the ones in Laguna Beach on PCH near Myrtel. They "Chirp" to let you know it's ok to cross and they also have the countdown numbers. I like that because PCH is heaveley traveled and there are accidents that do happen but I have spent the entire summer there and not one accident was reported at that intersection. I'm legally blind.
Kitty Kat October 05, 2012 at 03:49 AM
My point with the above comment is places where a lot of elderly people are, the city might considor certain types of crossing lights. You can't expect a 70-85 year old person running across the street because they ran of of minutes. Just try to visualize that......NOT!
Jim Gardner October 05, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Thank you John. You address the real question - traffic. So many people ask the small questions - "Should we widen Bake Pkwy?" "Should we install countdown lights?" "Should we put in more right turn lanes?" etc. The answer, of course, is "YES" but there are limited funds. We need a comprehensive study of the traffic problem, as I indicated in my blogs -"Traffic Tsunami" - not piecemeal solutions. When we understand the full nature of the traffic problem, we can begin to address all these other issues. For the past decade "traffic" has been the #1 problem for Lake Forest residents and almost nothing substantial has been done. Time to stop looking at the small details and look at the larger picture.
Sue Klingseis October 05, 2012 at 05:44 PM
How abour Ridge Route and Jeronimo where children walk to three different schools? Also El Toro Road and all intersections south of Trabuco.
John Ebany October 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Stagger the school start time? Forbid parents to drop their kids off, unless ley live "x" distance from the school. Have a traffic cop there for 1 hour. Put in a light? Look if the City can waste money on resurfacing Lake forest when it didn't need it they can do something

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