Friday, July 7, 2000

Safety devices to be tested it Loma Linda crosswalk
Loma Linda is the first city on the West Coast to invest in low-cost, effective cylinders that can be bolted to the pavement to mark ignored or dangerous crosswalks. Next week, the city of San Berardino is slated for a demonstration of the new plastic cylinders, called pedestrian gateways, said Kenn Hunt of the Riverside-based Mortan Industries, which distributes the tubes in the western United States. Hunt said that other interested Inland cities include Corona, Colton and Hemet.
"I think it's going to save lives," he said Thursday about the tube-shaped gateways, which are manufactured in France and common on the East Coast and in Europe. The new gateway tubes are 33 inches tall, 8 inches in diameter and rounded on top. They are not intended to be struck by vehicles, but they can absorb the impact of a 22 ton truck barreling through the crosswalk at 65 mph, Hunt said. The tubes are to be placed along the edge of a crosswalk at curbside and in the middle of the street to draw drivers' attention, Hunt said. He said the tubes are highly visible at night and in the rain, when stripes painted on the roadway can be harder to see.
Loma Linda paid about $500 for six of the yellow tubes with silver stripes. City workers hope to install the devices on Monday on Academy Avenue next to Loma Linda Academy, just west of Anderson Street. The city had gotten complaints about drivers speeding through the private-school crosswalk, endangering children, Loma Linda associate engineer Dennis Barton said. He said Loma Linda might install the tubes at other crosswalks, depending on the success of the Academy Avenue trial. Installing the tubes will cost about $100 to $200, Barton said. He said the cost of the devices and their installation is covered in the city's traffic-safety budget. At other intersections, the city has tried using crosswalk markers that were glued to the pavement, Loma Linda traffic safety director Alex Sanchez said. But the glued markers always popped off after a while. The tubes are detachable, so they can be screwed into the pavement temporarily for special events, Hunt said. He said Garden Grove in Orange County is planning to use the cones for a festival next spring.