'Smart' Crosswalks Help Rexburg Pedestrians

REXBURG, Idaho - One local community is making crossing the street a little safer for pedestrians.

Crossing an intersection can be challenging for the visually impaired, but new technology installed in downtown Rexburg is helping the vision-impaired safely cross streets.

"It allows for those who are visually impaired to have an easier time crossing the street," said Keith Davidson, assistant city engineer. "It also beeps constantly, so those who are visually impaired can find the button as well."

It's called the Advanced Accessible Pedestrian System and these are the first pedestrian signals in Rexburg that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The system gives pedestrians an audible signal of when it is and isn't safe to cross the street. This new technology works in partnership with the truncated domes located at every crosswalk.

"They're the little yellow domes that are raised, so when visually impaired pedestrians approach the crosswalk, there's a different texture that they feel, so that lets them know that they've come up to a crosswalk," said Davidson.

The addition of this new technology is something city leaders are pleased to offer.

"Now that even more people are going to feel safe and welcome, we're just really happy about that," said Christopher Mann, Rexburg City Council president. "We want people to come to downtown Rexburg and to feel safe and to enjoy it."

An estimated 90 AAP systems were installed in cities across the U.S. in 2011. While only two crosswalks in downtown Rexburg are equipped with this new technology, city leaders say they hope to add more in the future.

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