CORNELIUS, Ore. (KOIN) — If you’re walking on Tualatin Valley Highway in Cornelius, you will be greeted with a beacon that can speak both Spanish and English.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the beacon at North 12th Avenue and Adair Street – adjacent to the Centro Cultural Community Center and Virginia Garcia Clinic – aims to improve safety in the multicultural community.

ODOT Director Kris Strickler and other local leaders launched the beacon at an event on Friday, July 15.

“What we do is always about the people who do the work and the people who will benefit from the work,” Strickler said. “The improvements we make enhance livability, safety, access and the environment. This investment in pedestrian safety on TV Highway is one of many examples of improvements we are making. We are committed to working with all of you to improve safety and meaningfully partner and serve historically underserved communities along TV Highway.”

Many are familiar with the rectangular rapid flashing beacons on state and local roads.

The department notes that they improve safety by allowing pedestrians to turn on flashing lights to alert oncoming drivers of people getting ready to cross the road. ODOT has about 50 beacons in the Portland area and hopes for more in the future, including 10 on the Outer Powell Project on U.S. 26.

ODOT started using pedestrian activated beacons on Portland area roads a decade ago and has found them an effective tool for improving safety on busy corridors, especially in areas with long distances between traffic signals, said the announcement.

They add a layer of visibility for people walking, biking or rolling.

“ODOT and the city of Cornelius listened to our concerns about safety and worked with us to make this improvement possible,” said Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez. “We are very grateful — not just for this new beacon, but for the way in which ODOT partnered with the city and community based organizations to integrate us in the design of a beacon that is both audible and bilingual.”

As for the city of Cornelius, it’s welcoming new residents, businesses and voices to advocate for infrastructure that will improve safety, added the press release. The city and other partners hope to improve safety and integrate equity into design and construction of projects.

Lyn Jacobs, who has worked for the last 24 years for the Virginia Garcia Wellness Center overlooking the intersection, described seeing people with walkers, strollers and children attempting to cross the street and cars failing to stop.

“It gives us great joy to provide this service for our community,” Jacobs said. “We are so excited to have this. It is a huge benefit to everybody in the community who needs to access to our dental and medical services.  We appreciate you and we appreciate you listening.”