Pedestrian crossing signals go live

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The crosswalk lights remain green to allow traffic to proceed.  Once a pedestrian pushes the walk button, however, the lights will turn yellow, then red to stop traffic and allow pedestrians to cross.

Forty-two traffic lights have been installed at the previously generally ignored “zebra crossings” marked on Pattaya’s major thoroughfares. City officials hope drivers, faced with a red light, will then actually stop to allow pedestrians to cross safely.

The system went online November 1, and the jury is still out as to whether they actually work.  One thing is for certain, with the large number of them sprinkled throughout the main thoroughfares, traffic has certainly slowed.

The signals remain green for motorists until a pedestrian pushes a button to change it to yellow, then red. International “walk” and “do not walk” signals are installed. Timing at crossings will differ in an attempt to ensure the new lights don’t create traffic jams.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said each crossing will have a 15-second delay from the time the pedestrian pushes the button for the light to change. In the future, the lights will be coordinated by a citywide computerized traffic management system to minimize bottlenecks.

While pedestrians may rejoice at the idea of no longer playing chicken with cars just to cross the road, the mayor acknowledged the transition will not be smooth. “There will still be problems with drivers continuing to ignore the pedestrian crossings and with pedestrians realizing they need to push a button to cross.”