2016-04-13 / Front Page

Call To Increase Safe Crossings

By Liz Goff
Pedestrian safety advocates and city residents filled a City Council chamber recently to show their support of a measure designed to protect people crossing at intersections throughout the five boroughs.

The measure, introduced by Public Advocate Letitia James, would provide right-of-way for pedestrians crossing from a traffic median when a traffic signal “countdown clock” has started flashing numbers.

“At many intersections throughout the city the “Walk” signal lasts for such a short period that even the most able-bodied pedestrian would struggle to make it to the other side of the street in time,” said Ken Bandes of Families For Safe Streets. “The countdown phase, on the other hand, can last half a minute, providing sufficient time to cross the street,” Bandes said.

Speakers said motorists must understand that pedestrians have the right of way, and that traffic must yield to pedestrians.

Under current law, pedestrians lose their right of way as soon as a flashing red hand appears on “Countdown Clocks,” even though the clocks are still actively clicking-out remaining times.

“New Yorkers who are killed or injured while crossing city streets are too-often not protected by our outdated laws,” James said. “This common-sense legislation would update the law to reflect how we cross the street – protecting countless pedestrians.”

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