The Local posted a letter today from a reader regarding pedestrian safety around the south end of Clinton Hill. More specifically the reader raised concerns about the way that traffic cops in this area “seem to prioritize traffic flow way ahead of pedestrian safety.”
“I have been trying to cross the street…and have the traffic cops wave traffic against the light into my path.” The Local solicited comments and responses from readers with similar experiences and the concerns of the letter-writer were echoed and amplified by many.
“We begin to cross the street, but the traffic cop keeps frantically waving at cars to keep coming right at us” writes Mike. “I have seen a lot of close calls, as both people and cars think they have the green light to go.”
Another reader wrote about being struck by a van while biking. Luckily she wasn’t hurt, but she does suspect the accident would not have occurred if the officer had not been “waving at [the driver] to accelerate through the intersection.”
Attempting to clarify the responsibilities of the officers as well as pedestrians, aother reader wrote that when NYPD “is at an intersection, they have absolute authority to override the signals,” including pedestrian right of way. This reader, indentified as “blue,” strongly suggests that regardless of right of way, pedestrians should cross “defensively.”
Whether or not the officers have the authority to over-ride the signals and right of way, another reader argues that the officers here are adding to the confusion, rather than clearly and coherently directing traffic.
We hope that the city will address this issue but until they do, and in fact even if they do, the rule for pedestrians in this area should probably be “cross defensively.”