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Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon on El Camino Real

A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon is being installed on El Camino Real at Almendral Avenue to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety while crossing El Camino Real (ECR). There is currently at marked, but uncontrolled, crosswalk across ECR. When activated by a pedestrian, or cyclist, the hybrid beacon will utilize a series of steady and flashing yellow and red lights to stop the northbound and southbound ECR vehicles. This project includes emergency vehicle pre-emption to improve accessibility and safety for Menlo Park Fire District as well.

Current Status 

June 2016

The Town has received approval from Caltrans for all work and encroachments. We anticipate receiving a construction schedule from the contractor by the 1st week of June. Work is anticipated to begin by mid/late June. One lane in each direction will be closed on El Camino Real at Almendral for the project. We anticipate the project construction to be between 60 and 90 days. 

April 2016

At the six lane crossing of El Camino Real at Almedral Ave., the Town of Atherton will be installing a relatively new concept for California in traffic technology. The pedestrian hybrid beacon is designed to stop vehicles at crosswalks and give pedestrians a controlled crossing through a series of steady and flashing yellow and red lights. The hybrid beacon will also provide access across El Camino Real for the Menlo Park Fire District Station located on Almendral Avenue.

First of its kind device in Town at El Camino Real and Almendral Avenue is specifically designed to get undivided attention of both drivers and pedestrians.

beacon 1

The hybrid beacon operates much like a traffic signal, but typically costs three times less than a traditional traffic signal. The cost for the equipment and labor is being funded by the Town and the Menlo Park Fire District.

beacon 2

Pedestrians activate the beacon when ready to cross, otherwise the beacon is dark and motorists proceed as usual while pedestrians see a “Don’t Walk”. Drivers must stop for a steady red light until it becomes a flashing red light and then may proceed only if the crosswalk is clear. Running the beacon’s steady red light is comparable to running a red traffic light and may result in a traffic citation with a $470 fine.

beacon 3

Given the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour and vehicle traffic exceeding 36,000 vehicles per day, the hybrid beacon will enhance pedestrian safety. It gives pedestrians and drivers plenty of forewarning. Additional intersections along El Camino Real will get Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons as part of a Caltrans pedestrian safety project in early 2017.

beacon instructions.PNG


 The Town entered into an agreement with Stantec in April 2015 to provide design plans, specifications and estimates (PS&E) to install the new hybrid beacon. The beacon will be located entirely within the State's El Camino Real right-of way, and requires an encroachment permit from Caltrans for construction.

The Town received the required encroachment permit from the State in October 2015 and advertised for construction bids. The construction contract was awarded at the November 2015 City Council meeting to Columbia Electric Inc. of San Leandro. Poles and equipment were ordered and delivered in mid-March and construction will soon begin (as soon as all final plans are reviewed and approved by Caltrans). Staff anticipates that the project will be operational in June 2016.

The project is a funding partnership between the Town of Atherton and the Menlo Park Fire District.

For more information on the project, please contact:

Project Contact:
Mike Kashiwagi
(650) 752-0532