Dense Fog ADVISORY for all of SE Wisconsin until noon Sunday

Pedestrian beacon is “creating some confusion” for drivers near Zoo Interchange

MILWAUKEE -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are offering an important reminder for drivers dealing with detours due to a new ramp closure in the Zoo Interchange -- the ramp from southbound I-41 to eastbound I-94.

Michael Pyritz, Regional Communications Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) SE Region

Michael Pyritz, Regional Communications Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) SE Region

"We've seen very little delays -- and for the first week of the closure, it has been really exceptional," said Michael Pyritz, Regional Communications Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) SE Region.

But with the influx of new drivers, WisDOT traffic management crews have observed confusion at the crosswalk in front of the Milwaukee County Zoo. The confusion is over what is known as a pedestrian hybrid beacon.

"When the pedestrian is ready to cross, they would press the button. And then it starts into a cycle mode that leads up to a solid red light," Pyritz said.

Pedestrian hybrid beacon on Bluemound Rd.

Pedestrian hybrid beacon on Bluemound Rd.

The light first blinks yellow, warning drivers it is about to change, and then it turns solid red. Drivers should stop -- and allow pedestrians to cross.

Finally, the light blinks red, indicating drivers can proceed with caution -- if pedestrians have cleared the road.

Pedestrian hybrid beacon on Bluemound Rd.

Pedestrian hybrid beacon on Bluemound Rd.

"Some people are not moving when they're still blinking red, while others are taking off and it is creating some confusion with the traveling public," Pyritz said.

WisDOT officials say drivers should not treat the blinking red lights as a stop light. They will help keep the flow of traffic steady as the ramp remains closed through spring 2017.

The pedestrian beacon has been installed for a year. But WisDOT officials say the technology is newer -- and becoming more popular across the state.

Pedestrian hybrid beacon on Bluemound Rd.

Pedestrian hybrid beacon on Bluemound Rd.

6 comments

  • Always Outspoken

    Why do the RED lights flash when it’s all clear? It seems to me that it would be more logical if the yellow light flashed – or better yet, no flashing lights at all when no pedestrians are crossing.

  • Huh !

    Why Oh Why ???
    Why does every city, in every county, in every state, in AMERICA, Have to have it’s own traffic rules ???
    Blink yellow, then red, with caution or like an idiot …. it depends on what street corner you’re at !!!
    Left exit, right exit, turn south to go north … what is up with all this mumbo jumbo on the road ?
    That’s the kind of thing you see in Europe between COUNTRIES !
    This is something that should be governed by a national standard, that way we know who the idiots are and not just confused travelers like me !!!

    • Always Outspoken

      I thought there was a “national standard” and it was that a flashing red light means STOP.

      Silly me.

    • Peanut

      sadly, all the pedestrian only crosswalks in milwaukee alone are different. the kind of thing a city planner might catch… if we had one…

  • Henry

    DOT has no clue. Like not having a better alternative to this debackle than shutting down a key ramp for a year. You have to laugh at the superior intellect.

  • John

    Proceed through a flashing red at the zoo, but stop for a flashing red on a school bus. Doesn’t make sense, but it’s the DOT.

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