Grand Rapids Introduces City's First Pedestrian-Controlled Traffic Light

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new signal will be running on Michigan  Street NE in Grand Rapids, as the city looks to ease traffic and  parking congestion along its bustling Medical Mile.

Grand Rapids  officials say the city’s first pedestrian hybrid beacon between Fuller  and Plymouth avenues will go into service Wednesday.

The new  signal remains dark until a pedestrian pushes the call button on either  side of Michigan Street. Once activated, the signal goes through the  following cycle for drivers:

  • Flashing yellow light to warn drivers and bicyclists
  • Solid yellow light to urge drivers and bicyclists to use caution
  • Solid red light indicating drivers and bicyclists should stop
  • Flashing red light meaning drivers and bicyclists can begin moving if the crosswalk is clear

>>PDF: Pedestrian signal lights explained

Pedestrians  should treat the signal like a normal crossing light, waiting for the  white “WALK” light to appear before they cross. The signal also features  a countdown so pedestrians know how long they have before they must be  safely on one side of the street.

Mobile GR Director Josh Naramore says drivers shouldn’t expect a significant change in their travel time.

“For  most of the people who drive this corridor, they will not experience  huge amounts of delay because there is no traffic signal that exists  between Plymouth and Fuller,” he explained.

Grand Rapids chose to install the new signal at Michigan Street near Baynton Avenue because of The Rapid’s new Route 19,  which offers free rides along the busy Medical Mile corridor. The Rapid  and Spectrum Health agreed to roll out Route 19 as part of a three-year  pilot program aimed at easing traffic and parking congestion near the  hospitals.

The city says since then, foot traffic has increased from about 50 people each day to 1,000 pedestrians.

“We’re a changing, growing city. So this helps safety for everyone, for all  users, especially our most vulnerable users,” said Naramore.

The  beacon cost Grand Rapids $150,000. The city says it doesn’t have any  immediate plans to install more of the signals, but it is working on  similar pedestrian crossings.  

Check out the video of how to use the hybrid beacon.



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