ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany City Councilmember Gabriella Romero backs the Crossing With Dignity Act. It targets pedestrian actuation devices—”beg buttons”—located near intersections that eventually trigger a walk signal once pushed, and ideally creating a safe window when pedestrians can cross.
“This legislation,” explained Romero, “would remove our reliance on the pedestrian actuation devices and give an automatic pedestrian signal at every intersection.” She hopes that, if passed, it will lend an extra layer of protection to those walking the streets of Albany. After all, according to the Department of Health, an average of 312 pedestrians are killed by vehicles in New York each year.
Councilman Owusu Anane sees removing the requirement, but not the use of the buttons, as a way to make the city of Albany more accessible to everyone. “We want to make sure that individuals, particularly with disability in the urban community, don’t have to push a button just to cross a street,” he said.
Drivers are being told to not worry about the timing of future rides. For vehicles traveling through intersections, Anane said, the impact to commute time would be minimal. “If no one pressed that button, they would have an extra five to seven seconds to drive across that traffic light,” he described.
Albany officials are also considering lowering the existing citywide speed limit by five miles per hour, dropping down from 30 to 25. Both councilmembers said that they’re behind such a measure.
“Twenty five miles per hour across the whole city could only be positive,” Romero stated. “Not only for pedestrians, but really for everyone.”
Councilmember Romero said she hopes that this Act will lead to other areas following in their footsteps. “Organization of cities and prioritizing pedestrians. I hope this moves us in a good direction, but at least is one of many steps we can take,” stated Romero.