City News

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) Installations Underway and soon to be activated

~ Several PHB installations near schools and parks ~

RICHMOND, Va.Over the next few weeks, drivers along Forest Hill Avenue near Huguenot High School, Semmes Avenue near Fonticello Park, and Laburnum Avenue near Holton Elementary School will notice new traffic signal control devices in operation. These new traffic signals are Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHB) and they are designed to help pedestrians and bicyclists safely cross busy or higher-speed, multi-lane roadways and uncontrolled intersections.

Most traffic related deaths involving people walking occur at night and at non-intersection locations with drivers that create more crash energy than a person can withstand. In these cases, vehicle size and speeds are always the major contributing factor. As a safety strategy to address this crash risk, the PHB is an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a full pedestrian signal because it assigns right of way and provides positive stop control. It also allows people who drive to proceed once the pedestrian has cleared their side of the travel lane(s).

In general, PHBs are used where it is difficult for pedestrians to cross a roadway, such as when gaps in traffic are not sufficient or operating speeds exceed 35 miles per hour. They are very effective at locations where three or more travel lanes will be crossed or traffic volumes are above a certain threshold. Installation of a PHB must also include a marked crosswalk and pedestrian countdown signal.

PHBs are also planned for the following locations:

  • Belvidere Street at Virginia War Memorial
  • Hull Street at Silverwood Drive
  • Hull Street at Worsham Way
  • Hull Street at 29th Street
  • Main Street at 24th Street (GRTC)
  • Williamsburg Avenue at Stony Run Road

Additionally, existing emergency signals/beacons at the following fire stations will be retro-fitted and modified to function as PHBs:

  • Semmes Avenue near Canoe Run Park with Fire Station #17
  • Leigh Street near Abner Clay Park with Fire Station #5. 

These projects are a continuation of the Vision Zero commitments made to serve people of all ages and abilities by changing the built environment to shift our safety culture.

Instructions on how to use PHBs:

The beacon head consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens. The lenses remain “dark” until a pedestrian desiring to cross the street pushes the call button to activate the beacon, which then initiates a yellow to red lighting sequence consisting of flashing and steady lights that directs motorists to slow and come to a stop and provides the right-of-way to the pedestrian to safely cross the roadway before going dark again.

screen grab

This project is funded through the FHWA Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and a partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

PBHs have been installed at the following locations: Grove Avenue at Summerset Avenue and on East Broad Street (at the mid-block) between the I-95 Bridge and 16th Street.

For more information on Vision Zero, please visit us online at or email us

We’re Social! For updates on DPW-related projects, activities and events visit us on Twitter @DPW_RichmondVA


The City of Richmond Department of Public Works (DPW) is one of only 195 currently accredited public works agencies in the United States. DPW’s portfolio comprises a wide array of services to include leaf collection; street, sidewalk and alley maintenance; trash collection; recycling; grass cutting;  graffiti removal; parking enforcement; urban forestry; street signs; traffic signals and pavement markings and civil engineering. In addition, DPW maintains upkeep on most city buildings; issues permits for working in the city’s right-of-way; manages the RVA Bike Share program and maintains the fleet of city vehicles. DPW’s operating budget comes from the general fund of the City of Richmond.  For more information about DPW services, click here or call 3-1-1.