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Flashing Pedestrian Crossing Signals Create A False Sense Of Security For A Pedestrian

RESEARCH: Overhead pedestrian crossing signal with flashing yellow lights, activated by a pedestrian crosswalk button

The Concern: Flashing pedestrian crossing signals create a false sense of security for a pedestrian.

Alternative: Crosswalk with in-roadway warning lights (“flashing crosswalks”)The blinking, amber signals are designed for mid-block locations where people tend to cross the street illegally, even though an intersection is 200 feet or so down the road.

Pedestrians at those spots often are headed to high-demand destinations, so traffic engineers figure they'll be crossing regardless. The goal is to create a logical walkway.

Drivers don't have to stay stopped the entire time the light is flashing, only when someone is crossing. That's why the signals use an amber light, signaling caution, as opposed to a red light, which would indicate a complete stop.

But some drivers expressed frustration about the crosswalks being installed outside of intersections where people might not expect them.

"I'm having a hard time adjusting to random spots, not at intersections, on roads I've traveled for years without them," said Melissa Wild, 33, of Dunedin.

Mark Calvert of Tierra Verde shared Wild's concern, saying problems arise in the period after the new crosswalks are installed, before drivers are accustomed to them.

"They may get a sudden flashing and slam on the brakes, or not be aware and barrel through," Calvert, 59, said.