Why don’t we have traffic lights at crosswalks?

| 15/03/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Why didn’t the NRA put walk/don’t walk pedestrian crossings to stop the situation that one pedestrian crosses, gets to the other side, another one starts to cross… cars still waiting… that pedestrian crosses then two more decide they want to cross, etc. It would make much more sense to have this synched so traffic moves as one and pedestrians move as one.

Auntie’s answer: I take your point, though I have a different perspective as to why the lights may be needed. On two separate occasions a car blew through a zebra crossing right in front of me, in the middle of a sunny day, while I was halfway across the street. And on one of those occasions, the driver was on her cell phone. I will spare you a description of my reactions to those reckless and clueless drivers.

I know I have digressed here but I saw a chance to vent since you brought up pedestrian crossings.

Anyway, I asked the National Roads Authority about installing walk/don’t walk signals as you suggested and I was told that these are only used at intersections. While acknowledging that they could be used at “mid-block crossings”, it is thought signals at those locations would cause an “unnecessary back-up of vehicles”.

The ways the crossings work now, as you noted, is that cars can only move once the pedestrian has walked across the street. A stoplight would force cars to sit until it turns green which, depending on the time of day and the street, could result in a line of vehicles waiting there with no pedestrian in sight.

However, the official said that the NRA is planning to add more button-operated flashing lights at crossings “mostly at schools”, which I don’t think anyone would take issue with.

But, in addition, the official said that the concern expressed over the efficiency/safety of a zebra crossing vs using walk/don’t walk signals – especially if it puts a pedestrian such as yours truly in danger – is going to be passed along.

I will follow up with the NRA to see if any action is taken.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How can an NRA official respond that these lights are only used at intersections? Are they now aware of the several crossing with lights on WB Road, S. Church Street, Walkers Road???? Did they not install these??

    ALL the pedestrian crossings in town, and everywhere else, should have lights with a 1 minute delay between activations. Thereby preventing the “pedestrian trickle” and allowing traffic to flow between activations. K.I.S.S. No need for cops to direct either.

    Please do not confuse the simple official with phrases like Walk/Don’t Walk.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have seen in other countries where they have these traffic lights and they can only be changed every 5 minutes or so. If you look at the crossing in front of the government building, at many times during the day there is a constant flow of people which backs up traffic more than a light would. I think this would be a great place for a traffic light or a bridge to help the traffic flow.

    Also, as per the other comment, I believe at least the ones here should have a separate button in the middle so that both sides of traffic don’t stop.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A point of note on the longer zebra crossings is that you are supposed to wait until the pedestrian has made it all the way across, like the crossing by RBC which goes across 3 lanes. When you have a central refuge, like the crossing by the Government admin building, they are treated as two separate crossings so you only need wait when a pedestrian is on ‘your half’ of the crossing, Interestingly enough this is also a 3 lane crossing, and one I consider safer. You get both sets of drivers, those that don’t wait at the RBC crossing, and those that wait when someone starts to cross on the other side at the GOAB crossing.