Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to Remain Active at Camp Richardson
9/1/2017
District:  District 3 - Marysville, www.dot.ca.gov/dist3 
Amarjeet S. Benipal, District Director 
Contact:  Steve Nelson  
Phone:  (530) 741-4566; (530) 701-9459 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
 
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to Remain Active at Camp Richardson 
Motorists Advised to Expect Heavy Tahoe Traffic on Labor Day Weekend 

CAMP RICHARDSON – Caltrans and its partner agencies are advising motorists to expect delays in the Lake Tahoe area and to plan ahead for extra travel time during the busy Labor Day holiday weekend. 

Caltrans has received several complaints about the pedestrian hybrid beacon installed at Camp Richardson on State Highway 89 near Jameson Beach Road in conjunction with a water-quality improvement project completed last year. The perception has been that the beacon is causing major weekend backups on this section of Highway 89.  

The beacon will remain active this weekend and until further notice. Caltrans conducted a two-day study on Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22, and determined the beacon isn’t a major contributing factor to the weekend traffic backups. Rather, beach parking is limited in this area and spots fill up quickly. Once they’re full, motorists are driving at slow speeds looking for shoulder parking along the highway, impeding the free flow of traffic.  

Caltrans does recognize that motorists may be confused when experiencing the beacon for the first time. This is a relatively new pedestrian safety feature on California highways and the first of its kind installed in Lake Tahoe.
  
The beacon head consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens. The beacon head is "dark" until a pedestrian desires to cross the street. At this point, the pedestrian will push a button that activates the beacon. After displaying brief flashing and steady yellow intervals, the device displays a steady red indication to drivers and a "WALK" indication to pedestrians, allowing them to safely cross the highway while traffic is stopped.  

After the pedestrian phase ends, the "WALK" indication changes to a flashing orange hand to notify pedestrians that their clearance time is ending. The hybrid beacon displays alternating flashing red lights to drivers while pedestrians finish crossing beforeonce again going dark at the conclusion of the cycle. After coming to a stop, motorists can drive through the intersection on a flashing red if it’s safe to do so. Motorists are reminded to obey the signs and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists at all times.  
 
A coalition of agencies committed to the improved operation of the Highway 89 corridor (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Transportation District, Caltrans, the U.S. Forest Service, El Dorado County, California Highway Patrol, Camp Richardson Resort and the City of South Lake Tahoe) will work on a corridor management plan to address the underlying issues of recreational travel that are leading to congestion and impacting visitor and residential experience at Camp Richardson and the surrounding area, including Emerald Bay. It is expected that both short-term and long-term remedies will be identified and implemented over the next two years. In the meantime, the beacon will continue to be in use.
 
For more information on the pedestrian hybrid beacon, please see: 
http://bit.ly/2wH2EmP. For more information on Caltrans’ highway projects in the Basin, go to TahoeRoads.com, follow @TahoeRoads on Twitter or "like" Tahoe Roads on Facebook. For real-time traffic, click on Caltrans’ QuickMap or download the QuickMap app on iTunes or Google Play.