Yesterday, the Department of Transportation installed New York City’s very first pedestrian countdown timer at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Kings Highway in Brooklyn. Gothamist, as usual, does a nice treatment of the story and roundup of the coverage.
The thing I found most interesting about yesterday’s news was the fact that Mayor Bloomberg actually showed alongside DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall at yesterday’s press conference.
The New York Times story gives a bit of insight into the Mayor’s thinking on these matters and some back-and-forth within the Administration:
Mayor Bloomberg has been a fan of the countdown signals, but Iris Weinshall, the city’s transportation commissioner, had some doubts. "The mayor for a number of years has talked to me about countdown signals," she said at the news conference yesterday. "He saw them in other cities. It was, I think, a very good exchange back and forth as to whether we should put them up or not."
In some cities where the countdown signals are used, officials have noticed that elderly people, in particular, tended to underestimate the length of time it would take them to cross. The mayor acknowledged that concern but said: "I’d rather give people information and then let them make decisions. Hopefully most of them will make intelligent decisions."