Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

Light Duty! City Tries New Way to Calm Drivers at Signal-less Crossings

12:08 PM EST on November 9, 2018

Here’s the system in action at Hoyt and President streets in Brooklyn. Photo: DOT

The city has unveiled a new approach to getting drivers to slow down for kids: flashing lights to get their attention.

In an unheralded announcement on Friday morning, the Department of Transportation said it would install rapid-fire strobes at eight intersections near schools — lights that would be triggered by the pedestrians.

The DOT showed off the lights in a tweet from the corner of Hoyt and President streets in Brooklyn. That intersection — at a public school! — has neither a traffic signal nor a stop sign. It is frequently the site of speeding.

Here's what the same intersection looked like before the installation of the so-called Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons:

Hoyt and President Street
Photo: Google

In a subsequent tweet, the DOT suggested that pedestrians bear some onus for their own safety:

"Pilot features flashing lights to increase pedestrian visibility at crosswalks that don’t have traffic signals or stop signs," the tweet said. "Pedestrians: Press the button to activate flashing lights. Before you cross, make sure all vehicles have stopped. Only go after the lights are flashing."

Here's how the system works. Photo: DOT
Here's how the system works. Photo: DOT

The agency also reminded drivers, truckers, cyclists and motorcyclists, "Always yield to pedestrians, it's the law. Pay attention to the road and don't be distracted. Obey the speed limit so you don't need to make a dangerous stop."

The DOT did not respond to an initial email from Streetsblog to determine the locations of the seven other schools where the flashing systems have been installed. When the agency responds, we will update this story.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Popular Fort Greene Open Street Fizzles After City Pulls Support

DOT reassigned its contractor, and this open street — which once hosted rollicking dance parties — is history.

October 2, 2023

Monday’s Headlines: Thin-Skinned, Anti-Restler Mayor Edition

Under fire for how he handled the storm, the mayor found a familiar target: Brooklyn Council Member Lincoln Restler. Plus other news.

October 2, 2023

Two Paths Forward: Broadway Shows What Could Be on Fifth Avenue

It's time to widen Fifth Avenue's sidewalks and add a protected bike lane. Delays hurt everyone.

CYCLE OF RAGE: Even Cheap Souvenir Plates Fool NYC Speed Cameras — And Piss Off an Out-of-Town Man

You don't have to be SEXY to fool New York City speed cameras. You just have to pretend to be.

October 2, 2023

We Have the ‘End of Days’ Flooding Pics You Need Right Now

It's bad out there. How bad? Here is a citywide roundup from our staff ... and our friends on social media.

September 29, 2023
See all posts