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Queens Signal Systems Get Upgraded – QNS.com

Queens Signal Systems Get Upgraded

New lighting units more than three times brighter than the light bulbs currently used in city traffic lights are coming to Queens.
The massive traffic modernization program is replacing all the incandescent bulbs used in Queens 20,000 traffic lights as well as the boroughs 16,000 pedestrian Walk controls, the Citys Department of Transportation announced. The nine-month project is scheduled to be completed early next year.
The changeover will affect all 2,637 signalized intersections in Queens, about one-fourth of the Citys traffic signal system.
The two-pronged traffic safety program is also replacing Walk, Dont Walk lettering with easy-to-read international symbols a white silhouetted striding man telling pedestrians to walk, and a red hand telling them to stop. Nearly 600 Queens corners are already using the new controls.
The new Walk controls also provide easier-to-read crossing messages for visually impaired pedestrians.
Along Bell Blvd. in Bayside, the new controls were greeted with enthusiastic approval.
"We have them like this at home," said Antonia Lindmark from Stockholm, Sweden, who is here until Christmas. "I like them much better than the Walk and Dont Walk ones."
"Theyre much easier to see, especially for some people," said Joanne Maxwell of Glen Oaks. "Some dont read English, but they can see the hand and the man."
"You just look at them and get the picture right away," Austin Dronca of Little Neck said.
"Theyre easier and brighter," said Andrea Termini of Fresh Meadows.
Key to the signal modernization program is the replacement of the standard 67-watt light bulbs with the brighter 6-to-20-watt light emitting diode (LED) lighting units. Cheaper to operate, since it uses less electricity, and longer lasting, the LED lamp glows for about 12 years as compared with the light bulbs one year life expectancy.
This translates into a $1.6 million annual saving in power and maintenance contract costs, which can repay the projects $7.5 million initial cost in less than five years.
Incandescent bulbs have been used for more than 80 years to control the movement of pedestrians and vehicles in the city.
* Light bulbs have been used in traffic lights since 1919 when they were first installed by the Police Department in a traffic tower on Fifth Ave. and 42 St.
* Developed in 1951 by the City Traffic Department, New Yorks first pedestrian controls were posted in Times Square and Herald Square, using green Walk and red Dont Walk messages.

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