Prospect Park’s 3.35-mile loop just got a little more pedestrian friendly this month with almost 20 pedestrian-activated traffic lights.
After finishing the earlier this month, the Department of Transportation took a recommendation from the to install pedestrian activated push buttons at the park’s 18 traffic lights.
Now, pedestrians can push the button to activate a red light on the road and give themselves the “walk” sign to cross the road more safely.
“This is another great step towards increasing predictability and safety for all,” Emily Lloyd said, who is the president of the Prospect Park Alliance and head of the Road Sharing Task Force.
The other side of the pedestrian button plan is that during all non-rush hour hours, the traffic lights along the loop stay green — literally giving bikers a green light, as The Brooklyn Paper reported.
According to the DOT, the lights will turn from green to red only when and if a pedestrian needs to cross the drive, which they hope helps to enhance signal compliance and safety.
Before the new push buttons, the park’s traffic lights signals cycled through red, yellow and green automatically, even when there were no pedestrians at the crosswalks.
Eric McClure, the co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors and an avid biker, said he also thinks this plan is a step in the right direction for making the park’s drives safer for bikers and pedestrians alike.
“The new signals will keep cyclists from having to stop when no one is waiting to cross — and from getting tickets for not stopping at an empty crosswalk,” McClure told Patch. “At the same time, it's incumbent on cyclists to stop when pedestrians are trying to cross, and 'I'm training' is no excuse. Safely sharing the park loop needs to be the number-one priority of everyone who uses it, and the new signals should make that easier.”
The park’s drive has been the scene of multiple serious accidents between bikers and pedestrians, two of which ended with Linda Cohen and Dana Jacks, and both were in .
Jacks' lawyer, Sandy Hill of Hill & Moin who is representing Jacks in her lawsuit against the city, said she hopes the new traffic lights work and that bikers stop for the pedestrian-activated red signals.
“We support anything that the city can do to make it safer for bikers and pedestrians to get along together in the park,” Hill told Patch in an interview on Tuesday.
What do you think? Will the new push buttons work at keeping all users of the park safer? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.