New traffic signals give pedestrians head start in downtown Los Angeles

Leslie Lopez Image
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
New traffic signals give pedestrians head start in downtown LA
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City officials have installed 16 traffic signals in downtown Los Angeles that give pedestrians a four-second head start in crosswalks.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- At least 16 pedestrian head start signals have been installed in downtown Los Angeles in an effort to improve safety measures and reduce the risk of auto-pedestrian collisions.

The signals, which were requested by 14th District City Councilman Jose Huizar, give pedestrians a four-second head start in crosswalks before cars get the green light.

Traditionally, at most signal lights, the green light along with the crosswalk symbol turn on together, so cars and pedestrians take off in the same direction at the same time. City officials hope the extra four seconds will allow pedestrians to step off the sidewalk safely, giving them and drivers a chance to see each other before proceeding.

"For the longest time, the city has thought to itself, 'How do we get automobiles as quickly through our streets?' But, now we're saying, 'Wait a minute, there's people walking, biking. Let's think of them as well,'" Huizar said.

The city's first pedestrian head start signal was installed on Broadway at 3rd and 4th streets in 2014. The most recent pedestrian head start signals were installed at the following intersections in downtown L.A.:

- 1st and Main streets

- 2nd and Hill streets

- 2nd and Spring streets

- 2nd and Main streets

- 3rd and Hill streets

- 3rd and Spring streets

- 3rd Street and Broadway

- 3rd and Main streets

- 4th and Hill streets

- 4th and Spring streets

- 4th and Main streets

- 5th and Hill streets

- 5th Street and Broadway

- 5th and Spring streets

- 5th and Main streets

"These kinds of very simple, common-sense solutions that we can put in place throughout the city are the kinds of things that are fundamental to our Vision Zero work, which is our goal to get to zero traffic deaths in the next 10 years," said Seleta Reynolds, the General Manager of the Los Angeles City Transportation Department (LADOT).

The improvements are also part of Huizar's DTLA Forward initiative, which is designed to make traffic flow better, increase public spaces and improve pedestrian safety.