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Countdown crosswalk signs in Astoria

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to debut a pilot program of “countdown signals” in Astoria. On Thursday, November 8, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced the plan, which also includes signals in the four other boroughs, in order to analyze the impact on motorist and pedestrian behavior. In total, 164 “countdown” signals will be installed, and the Astoria location is along Steinway Street from 30th to 34th Avenues.
The signs show the number of seconds pedestrians have to cross the street before the cars are given a green light, and the DOT chose the five locations because all are busy intersections. The pedestrian countdown signals are the same size as the existing ones, which have a “Walking Man” and “Hand,” except the new ones have the countdown numbers.
During the test run, city consultants will use cameras and video cameras to analyze behavior by both pedestrians and motorists. They will also collect data on how fast cars are going, compliance to the lights, and accidents.
“We want to provide the safest environment possible for pedestrians crossing the street,” Sadik-Khan said. “By focusing on busy corridors and using video analysis we hope to find that pedestrians use the information provided by these signals to cross the street in a safe manner.”
The decision to launch the new study came after city officials looked at the results of a preliminary test conducted at five city intersections. Officials estimate that the new and larger study, of which there is not currently an estimated cost, will be completed by fall 2008.

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