Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Crosswalk cones may offer pedestrians gateways to safety
LOMA LINDA - Pedestrians soon may notice a new look when they cross city streets. Cylinder-shaped, white- and yellow-striped cones are being placed along crosswalks to provide extra protection for pedestrians. Their name: Pedestrian Gateways. "The purchase order hasn't been approved yet, but we hope to have them installed in front of Loma Linda Academy (a private school on Anderson Street) for testing," said Alex Sanchez, head of traffic control for Loma Linda. "We want to see how they work first before we make a commitment to any more."
Currently they are being used in cities on the East Coast and Europe. Ken Hunt of Mortan Industries in Riverside, West Coast distributor of the cones, said recent traffic studies show that gateways improve visibility along crosswalks and decrease the number of crosswalk accidents in cities where they are used. "When it is raining, people can barely see the painted crosswalks, which can cause a pedestrian to be hit," said Hunt. "But these (gateways) are higher off the ground so people can notice them, and their bright color helps." Sanchez said he became interested in the gateways when he learned they would be anchored to the pavement as opposed to just being glued down. "We wanted to make sure they would be secure and that they would be safe," he said. "Once I was told they would be anchored down in the streets, I thought they would be useful." Gateways, which are manufactured in Europe, are bolted to the pavement. According to Hunt, this is an advantage because they won't move upon impact. The gateways are 33 inches wide, eight inches high and can sustain the intact of a 21-ton truck traveling at 65 mph, Hunt said. "The potential benefits to this is to reduce incidents, especially near schools and hospitals," he said. "And this will also slow traffic near crosswalks because people will want to avoid them." Hunt said other cities showing interest in the new product in clude Colton and Hemet. A few cities in Orange County also have shown interest. Gateways are not sold individually. They cost between $350 to $395 for six.