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New traffic signals driving people crazy in New Jersey

Image credit: New Jersey Department of Transportation
Image credit: New Jersey Department of Transportation

New Jersey has installed new signal systems at their pedestrian crosswalks, leaving locals confused as to how they actually work.

Looking different in contrast to a traditional traffic light, a pedestrian beacon stands out because it has two red lights, an amber light, but no green light.

When a pedestrian presses the button (meaning that for once, most crosswalk buttons will be more than a placebo), the amber lights on the beacon will begin to flash and then turn a solid amber to warn drivers to prepare to stop, much the same way school buses initially signal that the bus is coming to a stop.

After the amber lights finish flashing two red lights on the beacon will come on, allowing pedestrians to cross. The red lights will then flash and turn off.

However, some drivers are waiting for the red lights to stop flashing, which is not the intent of the design. Dan Triana, a state Department of Transportation spokesman, says that it is okay to proceed on flashing red lights if it is safe to do so.

“Under a full signal, the red remains steady throughout the entire crossing. With the hybrid beacon, vehicles can continue on the flashing red, if safe to do so,” he said.

The system is nothing new. A similar system, known as the High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (or HAWK), has been around for at least a decade.

According to NJ.com, the NJ DOT has an online brochure that better explains how to navigate the new signal.

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