17th and Washington Intersection Improvement Project

August 6, 2019

An evaluation was conducted at the intersection of 17th and Washington streets to develop safety and operational improvement alternatives to the existing traffic control. The intersection was previously controlled by a traffic signal until storm damage rendered the signal inoperable in the spring of 2019. The results of an engineering study, using data collected from multiple time periods, showed the intersection did not meet federal requirements for full signal control. Based on these results, the LTU Traffic Engineering Division developed concepts and conducted outreach with the neighborhood, local stakeholders, and officials to produce a strategy to improve the safety and efficiency of the intersection.

Stop signs are currently in place on Washington Street, and additional temporary improvements have been installed, including refreshed crosswalk markings, yield lines, and parking restrictions. Plans for permanent implementation of improvements are being finalized now. These include:

  • Configuring the intersection with bump‐outs, which reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians across 17th Street
  • Installing Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) at the intersection
  • Placing additional permanent traffic control signs and pavement markings to reinforce the requirement that motorists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • Removing the existing signal and permanently installing stop signs for the eastbound and westbound approaches
  • Updating the layout of parking lanes to ensure that ample sight distance is provided for motorists at a stop-sign controlled intersection

Pedestrian Improvements

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Making Pedestrian Crossings Safer

What is it?

A rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) is a form of traffic control that uses flashing yellow lights at a crosswalk to warn motorists of pedestrians or bicyclists waiting to cross or already crossing the street.

RRFB at N. 33rd St and MoPac Trail RRFB at 16th and “D” streets
How does it work?

A pedestrian pushes the button and the warning lights are activated, notifying motorists of activity in the crosswalk. The pedestrian proceeds carefully into the crosswalk as vehicles yield to the crossing pedestrian or bicyclist.

Nebraska state law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

The flashing lights of an RRFB help to increase a motorist’s awareness of a pedestrian crossing.

Federal Highway Administration research indicates RRFBs increase driver yielding by up to 88% Safety is the #1 priority

Yield to Pedestrians Within Crosswalk

Yield lines painted on the pavement south of the crosswalk, along with corresponding signs, will alert drivers of the potential to encounter pedestrians at the crossing.

Example of crosswalk with enhanced pedestrian signageSign Example of crosswalk with enhanced pedestrian signage

Curb Design

Curb extensions, or “bump-outs,” on the south side of the intersection would decrease crossing distance across South 17th Street over 40%, reducing pedestrian crossing time by 4 to 6 seconds.

Concept design of intersection bump-outs Concept design of intersection with bump-outs (preliminary plan - not final - subject to change)

Project Contact

Mark Lutjeharms, PE, PTOE

City of Lincoln, Traffic Engineering
Phone: 402-441-5511
Email: mlutjeharms@lincoln.ne.gov