Touch-Free Crosswalks Created For South Bay Pedestrians

Have you found yourself in this era of COVID-19 trying to figure out how to push the crosswalk signal with your elbow?

It’s something you won’t have to worry about at more than two dozen intersections around Santa Clara County.

At San Jose’s Valley Medical Center, pediatrics is on one side of the road and the hospital itself on the other. Lots of people are walking back and forth, meaning the crosswalks - and the need to press for a walk sign - get a workout.

County engineers have created a touch free device, so helpful as we try not to touch commonly-used surfaces to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Santa Clara County engineers created a touch free device for activating crosswalks to be installed at 25 locations.
Margie Shafer/KCBS Radio

"We prototyped it," said Harry Freita, Director of Santa Clara County’s Roads and Airports. "We got it approved by the State of California. A vendor built it for us and, essentially, I’d say they are flying off the shelves. They are being sold all over the country, really. We’re really happy. This is the first installation in California that we know of."

Christian Victoria, who works at the medical center, told KCBS Radio he doesn’t have to use his knee anymore to trigger the signal. It works with just a wave of the hand.

"But with this, you can just kind of swipe it and it tells you ‘Just wait.’ It’s pretty awesome. I like it a lot."

Twenty-five high-pedestrian traffic intersections will be fitted with the touch-free devices over the next month.