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DOT Installed 18 Pedestrian Activated Traffic Lights in Prospect Park

As recommended by the Road Sharing Task Force, now pedestrians can push a button and within seconds they get a “walk” sign and can cross the park’s loop safely.

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.

A. Ginsberg June 29, 2012 at 02:12 AM
The past 2 evenings I tried out the walk button on 3rd St. On Wednesday night the light immediately turned red. As I crossed the interior road in the park 3 out of 4 bicyclist continued riding and almost hit me. It just shows that 25% know the rules. The other 75% of bikers need to be educated on the new rules. Earlier this evening I tried again. To no avail, out of 4 bikers no one stopped. Maybe the head of the DOT should hold a Town Hall for cyclists and go over the new rules and the existing ones.
Earl June 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM
The signals just went into effect. You can't expect everyone to know what to do immediately. Give it time.
Chicken Underwear June 29, 2012 at 03:31 PM
lights have been turning red and green all over Brooklyn and the rest of NYC for years and most cyclists have not been stopping.
Earl June 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM
They don't expect to have to stop for reds in a park. It's not the natural state of things to have traffic signals in a park. If there's a new rule or way of doing things with these push-button signals, it will take time for people to figure out that it's different than on real streets.
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