Quick Red Proves Trouble For Seniors
For many of the people scurrying across the street before a traffic light changes and traffic begins to move is no problem. For people with a disability, however, that simple walk across the street could become a race to make it to the other side before the light turns red.
Matters are often made worse when the walk/don’t walk lights seem to change in the blink of an eye. Such lights can be found on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 116 Street (located by Duane Reade and The Sunset Diner).
Having sported a broken ankle for a good part of this summer caused this reporter to notice the disparity in the timing of the lights on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 116 Street. The timings for these lights were figured to be the following: walk – five seconds, flashing hand to wait between walk and don’t walk – 10 seconds and don’t walk – 45 seconds. A combined 15 seconds for the walk and wait signs give a pedestrian hardly enough time to walk all the way across the street. Someone with a disability can barely make it half way before the light changes. Another danger to this intersection is that it is also the home to the parking lot that goes from Duane Reade onto Beach Channel Drive.
Keith Kalb, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said that the DOT’s Engineering Department told him that the above mentioned lights should be set for a total of 21 seconds for a full walk.
"Maybe there is a problem [with those lights]," Kalb said. "I’ll send [an inspector] out to reevaluate the location and see if the signal is changing at the proper [timing]."
He explained that signal timings are determined by the calculation that an average person walks four feet per second. "All signal timings are calculated [different] for every intersection," said Kalb.
In the meantime, Kalb has the following advice for pedestrians.
"Always wait for a fresh walk [signal before crossing], especially if you walk slower than average," said Kalb.
While the DOT is inspecting the light for correct timing, it should also be taking into account those who do not walk the average of four feet per second. People such as the eldery and the disabled are left out of the calculations and the most likely to be injured if they cannot make it across in time.