Light Duty! City Tries New Way to Calm Drivers at Signal-less Crossings
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.
DOT is piloting rectangular rapid flashing beacon crossing treatments at eight @nycschools to alert drivers about the presence of students and pedestrians in crosswalks.
?: Pedestrians push a button and warning lights flash on ?? crossing signs on either side of the crosswalk. pic.twitter.com/K4T2q3fMug
— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) November 9, 2018
Here’s what the same intersection looked like before the installation of the so-called Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons:
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.”
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.