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New Crossing Signals to Make Downtown Streets Safer for Pedestrians

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Rochester: New Crossing Signals to Make Downtown Streets Safer for Pedestrians
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Monroe County has secured a pair of federal grants designed to make the streets safer for pedestrians. The grants, totaling nearly $1.7 million, will pay for a new type of crossing signal that's already being used at some intersections.

"Traffic gets real crazy, and then some people don't stop,” said Toshonda Ragans.

In Downtown Rochester, crossing the street can seem like taking your life into your own hands.

"If you going to be downtown, don't cross the street, because they'll probably run you over,” said Zan Paule. “Know what I'm sayin’?"

"Some of them can be a little tricky. Drivers aren't always looking, especially if they're making that turn. They're not always... they're looking for motorists, not necessarily pedestrians,” said Sarah White.

Some city intersections are equipped with special countdown pedestrian signals. Soon, you'll be seeing a lot more of them.

"Instead of seeing that flashing don't walk sign, you will now see the actual countdown of how many seconds you have,” said Terry Rice, Monroe County Director of Transportation.

Monroe County has received two grants that'll pay for hundreds of new countdown signals. Starting this summer, they'll be installed at intersections near all K- 8 schools, where kids must walk.

The intended benefit: Safety.

"So you'll know, do I have to pick up my pace to cross. Do I have enough time if I want to start, if I'm going to jog across or walk quickly... because everybody walks at a different speed,” Rice said.

"I think it makes some difference because it gives pedestrians the chance to know when the light's gonna change,” White said.

"I think it's a good idea for families like myself who have smaller children and also because the weather gets bad and you don't want to be standing at a light for a long time,” said Ragans.

Federal law mandates that all new signal installations be countdown pedestrian signals. By the end of next year, Monroe County plans to replace all 1,700 traffic signals it's in charge of.

“You don't have to go out and replace everything right now,” Rice said.

But eventually, the current flashing WALK/DON’T WALK signals will be replaced. And that's supposed to be a good thing, for those who navigate Rochester's streets, by foot.

"It definitely can get hairy,” Ragans said.

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