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Billings makes crosswalk improvements as students get ready to head back to school

Rectangular rapidly flashing beacons—or RFB’s.
Kay Erickson
Yellowstone Public Radio
RFBs were installed 2 years ago along the Shiloh Corridor and Roundabouts.

With the start of school on the horizon the city of Billings is improving crosswalks to make them safer for students and other pedestrians.

They’re called rectangular rapidly flashing beacons—or RFBs. Billings installed close to a dozen RFBs at crosswalks staffed during the school year by crossing guards.

City staff engineer Dakota Martonen says the flashing yellow lights increase pedestrian safety by getting drivers’ attention.

“A lot of time we have driver yielding issues at several crosswalks and these have proven thorough in several studies," Martonen said.

Criteria for installing the RFBs at locations like 32nd Street West and Lampman, Colton and 19th, and Poly and 11th are vehicle traffic and pedestrian usage.

“Crossing road volumes and speeds, crossing distances and just generally how dense the area is, do you get several users using that crosswalk,” Martonen said.

RFBs were installed two years ago along the Shiloh corridor and roundabouts.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.