SEATTLE - The Seattle Department of Transportation says pedestrians are getting more time to cross at some intersections, but drivers are getting a bonus too.
SDOT calls the increase a “leading pedestrian interval.” It works by turning the walk signal on 3 to 7 seconds before drivers get a green light.
The idea is that giving pedestrians a head start not only gives them more time to cross but makes them more visible to drivers who are turning.
It may only be a few seconds, but it can make a big difference in pedestrian safety. The Federal Highway Administration said intersections with the leading pedestrian interval installed have a 60 percent reduction in collisions involving pedestrians and vehicles.
SDOT is installing them at intersections where such collisions have been a problem.
Drivers will also get more time. At some intersections, SDOT is installing "lag times" where the walk signal will end early and drivers will get a few extra seconds to be able to make a turn.
If you've tried to make a turn at a busy intersection where there's heavy pedestrian traffic, you know that by the time everyone has crossed, often the light has turned red again.
Lag time gives drivers a chance to make their turn and clear out an intersection.
For more information, visit the SDOT blog.
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