Friday, July 13, 2012

You now have more (warning) time to cross the Bowery

The other day we pointed out that this woman didn't have enough time to cross the Bowery at East Fourth Street... there's a newish 7-second countdown to cross six lanes of traffic... Other readers had raised concerns about this as well...

We heard from a local activist and EV Grieve reader who reported that he contacted the Department of Transportation to implore them to take quick action to have this rectified...

Anyway, last evening, as we were crossing the intersection, we noticed that the Don't Walk countdown began at 20-seconds... so pedestrians now have an additional 13 seconds (if our math is correct!) to make it across ...

Well, the photo shows 16 seconds because we didn't have our camera out in time...

Updated — Good point in the comments:

I would guess the timing of the traffic signals didn't change. You likely don't have more time to cross. Instead of, let's say, a walk signal for 23 seconds with a 7 second countdown there's a 10 second walk signal with a 20 second countdown.


Roger_Paw said...

Fixed??? Already??? Catch me, I'm getting the vapors!!

Amazing!!! Excellent!

Anonymous said...

hooray!! good job grieve!

Anonymous said...

I would guess the timing of the traffic signals didn't change. You likely don't have more time to cross. Instead of, let's say, a walk signal for 23 seconds with a 7second countdown there's a 10 second walk signal with a 20 second countdown.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 9:30

Ah, good point. So maybe it just SEEMS like you have more time to cross.

Kut said...

anon 9:30 is exactly right. I timed the light the other day. It's still thirty seconds from green to red. Nothing has changed except the countdown happens sooner. It's all just perception.

blue glass said...

first the count down is 7 seconds
then the picture shows 16 seconds
and you report 20 seconds
EXACTLY HOW MUCH TIME DOES A PERSON GET TO CROSS THE STREET (assuming they exactly when the light changes)?
it is sad that city government can't stop counting seconds and pennies at the expense of wasted hours and dollars.
the bowery/third avenue from houston to 14th street is a speed race for pedestrians with not enough time to cross and cars not obeying the lights.
this is not rocket science.

Goggla said...

I don't think the time has changed. I was crossing there last night and still had to make a mad dash. When there are a lot of people waiting on the corner, I find I have to get out in front of them before the light changes or I won't make it. Also, the cars traveling south on Bowery go way too fast and don't seem to brake until they're ten feet from the intersection.

glamma said...

well how very sh*tty of the DOT to try and fake us out like they increased the timing!
a totally classless move, my lord.
what is this city coming to?

Chad Marlow said...

In fairness to DOT, the complaint they received from me was that the countdown warning was not long enough, and the remedy I requested when I spoke with them directly was to increase the countdown time (so, for example, people would not start to cross when there were 9 seconds left on the signal). To the best of my knowledge, no request was made to increase the time people are given to cross. That request could certainly be made, and in fact should be made, but I do not believe it has been.

Anonymous said...

I made the comment @ 9:30 AM.

It was not to point out that anyone was wrong or that the DOT was trying to deceive anyone. DOT corrected their mistake of stranding pedestrians mid-cross with a ridiculous 7 second warning signal.

In what is currently a CONSTRUCTION ZONE intersection you need to use extra caution. Yes, it would be nice if the DOT provided a median safety island or extended the crossing time but meanwhile if you can't cross in 30 seconds use another crossing that is shorter or provides an island.

Does anyone know if the final street configuration will include a median with a safety island?

Chad Marlow said...

Anon @ 3:25 -

I understood and agree with your points (inital and follow-up). I was responding to the post that called the way DOT corrected the problem "a totally classless move." I just wanted to be sure they understood why DOT responded in the limited way it did.

Dot-dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot said...

Shouldn't DOT, when responding to a request for a longer countdown, possibly notice that the signal is just too short for such a crossing?

After all, they are probably more familiar with this type of thing than anybody posting here.

Or perhaps they use an algorithm like:

__ set short signal
__ do forever
____ bad accident? increase signal
__ done

Yeah, I'm joking. They probably don't bother coding the "do loop".

Uncle Waltie said...

I feel so relieved. Now I can cross the Bowery with my Astor Place bags without losing half the bottles in the process. Thus, I'll be half sober half the time.

Anonymous said...

These new crossing signals are terrible. I was uptown on Park Ave, which has some uphill portions when crossing it and literally had to help an elderly woman in a wheel chair stuck a 1/4 of the way through and panicking over the count down. Of course we got her across, but it is sad these clocks are so demanding.

There has always been a 6-second leniency in our cross-walking signs, a casual nod that pedestrians are more important than people. I think we should insist on this 6-second grace period again. As it stands, the new system changes with a Chicago-esque quality. (in Chicago, the blink stops and the light immediately goes green forcing many people to just hang out at the corner afraid to cross the street lest they get stuck).