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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sun powers crosswalk

The+pedestrian+crosswalk+on+North+Mountain+Avenue+and+East+First+Street+services+a+high-traffic+area+for+both+pedestrians%2C+bikers%2C+and+motorists.+White+solar-powered+lights+now+line+the+crosswalk+to+alert+oncoming+motorists.
The pedestrian crosswalk on North Mountain Avenue and East First Street services a high-traffic area for both pedestrians, bikers, and motorists. White solar-powered lights now line the crosswalk to alert oncoming motorists.

After noticing that several crosswalks on campus weren’t well-lit, Parking and Transportation Services decided to fix the problem.

They formed a partnership with Electric Supply Company and SolarPath Sun Solutions Inc. and installed a solar crosswalk on First Street and Mountain Avenue.

“”As far as we know, we are the only university in the country that is experimenting with these solar crosswalks,”” said Mark Napier, associate director of operations at Parking and Transportation Services.

The university did not fund the crosswalk; all 18 lights lining the crosswalk were donated by Electric Supply Company and SolarPath Sun Solutions Inc., and the labor was donated by UA Facilities Management.

“”They were glad to do it. They said ‘oh sure yeah’,”” said Bill Davidson, marketing and communications manager at Parking and Transportation Services.

Using a solar panel to charge a capacitor during the day, the lights can stay lit for 16 hours at a time before needing to recharge.

Viewable from 3,000 feet away, Napier has already observed drivers reacting to the lights.

Napier said the lights create a subtle flashing light that naturally causes drivers to slow down and pay attention.

The lights are embedded in the asphalt and are flat against the street so you might not even see them during the day, Napier said.

“”The reaction so far has been very good, we’ve talked to students and staff and I think people are pleased that we are testing this out and taking steps to light up the crosswalk,”” Davidson said. “”The nice thing about it is that people who are into solar like it because it is entirely charged by the sun.””

Because the idea is fairly new, Parking and Transportation is waiting a year to watch how the lights function before investing in more.

“”We’re going to see how the lights work over time. That’s the part we really don’t know; these lights should have a service life between eight and 15 years,”” Napier said

Nicole DiBene, an undecided freshman, said she had noticed that many of the UA crosswalks were not well-lit and thought the solar crosswalk was a good idea, especially because it is more energy efficient.

New crosswalks are not the only recent solar endeavor from Parking and Transportation Services.

“”In addition to this we also put solar lights on some of our bike paths, where bike paths cross through streets particularly on the Highland corridor,”” Napier said.

These lights aren’t subtle like the crosswalk, but very bright according to Napier.

Parking and Transportation purchased 18 of those lights for around $70 a piece.

“”We do a whole lot more in Parking and Transportation than write parking tickets,”” Napier said.

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