OLEAN, NY — The City of Olean has added Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons pedestrian warning lights to four crosswalks on North Union Street.

The RFBs, high-intensity warning lights, notify drivers when a pedestrian enters the crosswalk. They are solar-powered and user-activated, and each rapid flashing light is enhanced by a voice stating, “Yellow lights are flashing,” according to the mayor’s office. RRFBs have been found to improve driver yielding rates and pedestrian safety in walkable communities throughout the country.

“An RRFB was installed in front of the Beef ‘n’ Barrel on Friday, and I think I was the first one to use it,” William J. Aiello, mayor of Olean, said in a press release. “It was very effective in stopping traffic, and the flashing lights are visible from a distance. The voice telling the pedestrian that the yellow light is flashing will help visually impaired residents to feel safer as they cross the street.”

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Aiello said the RRFBs offer a solution to Olean residents concerned about crossing the street without traffic lights.

“The city crews will continue to install the new devices along North Union Street,” Aiello said. “Directions in Independent Living has offered to instruct citizens who wish to learn how to use the new devices.”

Directions in Independent Living, a United Way-funded agency, can be reached at 716-373-4602 or info@oleanilc.org