17th and Washington Intersection Improvement Project
Updated November 15, 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. Temporary improvements were installed, including stop signs on Washington Street, refreshed crosswalk markings, yield lines, and parking restrictions.
Installation of permanent improvements is scheduled for construction November 19 through December 21, 2019. This work will require intermittent lane closures and shifts. Northbound traffic will be maintained and digital signs will alert traffic to upcoming lane closures and shifts. The sidewalks on the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection will be closed. The on-street parking on the west side of South 17th Street between Sumner and Washington streets will also be closed during this work. Because the bus stop at this location may be impacted, patrons are encouraged to check with StarTran at 402-476-1234 for route updates.
When completed, to increase the safety and efficiency at this intersection, this improvement project will 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gaylon Masek, Construction Project Manager
City of Lincoln, LTU Project Delivery
Mike McCullough, Project Manager
Mark Lutjeharms, PE, PTOE
City of Lincoln, Traffic Engineering