Traffic Signals That ‘Talk’ Coming to Brooklyn Crosswalks

Streets Can Be Dangerous For Vision-Impaired, Seniors

BROOKLYN — Some of the major intersections in Downtown Brooklyn as well as one near busy Brooklyn College will soon get audible traffic signals to make the streets easier to navigate for the visually impaired and seniors.

The plan was announced Wednesday by city Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities Commissioner Matthew Sapolin. Also known as Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS), these audible devices emit a clicking sound to tell visually impaired pedestrians when the “walk” phase has begun.

In Brooklyn, the intersections to get these devices will be:

• The Adams Street Pedestrian Crossing, mid-block between Fulton and Johnson streets.

• Nevins and Fulton streets at Flatbush Avenue, the eastern end of the busy Fulton Mall.

• Adams Street/Boerum Place and Livingston Streets, another very wide intersection.

• Adams Street and Atlantic Avenue.

• Bedford Avenue between Avenue I and Campus Road, near Brooklyn College.

• Court and Montague streets, a high-volume intersection near the courthouse complex.

• Adams and Fulton Streets, the western end of the Fulton Mall.

“What all these streets have in common is that they’re wide arterial streets, which are the most dangerous for pedestrians to cross and where the most pedestrian accidents happen,” said Lindsey Ganson, pedestrian safety campaign director for Transportation Alternatives.

“My dad was blind, so I know firsthand the challenges that visually impaired people face every single day,” said Councilmember James Vacca (D-Bronx). “Crossing the street can be dangerous with speeding cars, noisy crowded intersections, and new street designs, but accessible pedestrian signals can make a life-saving difference. These 25 new APS installations are a great first step in what must be an ongoing commitment to improving the safety of pedestrians with visual impairments in all five boroughs.”

“These signals will make the streets much safer for our neighbors and visitors who are vision-impaired,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-Manhattan). “Their installation is a tribute to the strong advocacy of the Jewish Guild for the Blind, Lighthouse International, VISIONS, and Pedestrians for Accessible and Safe Streets [PASS].”

These new installations are expected to occur by the end of 2011. The process for approving and installing APS technology begins with a study of a requested location where DOT examines off-peak traffic presence, the current traffic-signal patterns and the complexity of the intersection’s geometry.

— Raanan Geberer

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Filed under Brooklyn Heights, Community News, Downtown Brooklyn

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