This isn’t a joke. Crossing McGuinness Blvd. can often be a near death experience and for some deadly. A speed survey confirmed that speeding cars are out of control with over 66% of cars going over the speed limit with accidents averaging at over one per month involving mostly cars and pedestrians. According to the DOT report:
From 2005 to 2009 there were 57 crashes on McGuinness involving pedestrians or bicyclists … Of those, 44 crashes involved pedestrians, with one resulting in death. The remaining 13 crashes, involving cyclists, resulted in three fatalities.
Still, McGuinness is a very anti-pedestrian street. The very location of the roadway, flanked by the LIE and BQE, leaves drivers in highway speed mentality and the lights don’t give pedestrians much time to cross.
Even though safety measures are being created, as pedestrians we need to look out for ourselves and carefully cross the street.
I hung out on McGuinness Blvd at Driggs Ave with a stop watch at about 10am on a Friday morning, when there is a decent amount of foot and car traffic, then went again at 10pm the same night.
How much time do you really have to safely cross McGuinness Blvd?
GREEN LIGHT: During the day, cars on McGuinness have about 1 min. 5 sec. to pass before it turns red, and about 1 min at night.
I know it’s obvious, but we are all guilty of running against the light. Don’t be an idiot! It’s better to be late than dead. When you see that red hand, don’t risk it – even if there is no traffic.
TOTAL TIME TO CROSS FOR PEDESTRIANS = *45 sec. in am, 55 sec. in pm
*includes white hand signal plus countdown
25 SECOND WARNING: At a normal pace, you can make it safely across the two lanes without having to wait on the dangerous divider.
17 SECOND WARNING: At a fast paced walk, you can make it safely across.
9 SECOND WARNING: At a fast jog you can make it across, but don’t risk it.
What if you trip?
RED HAND BLINKING: 3 sec. DO NOT CROSS
The most appalling moment I ever witnessed in Greenpoint was a man who ran to make the light while pushing a stroller in front of him.
WAIT ON THE SIDEWALK, NOT IN THE STREET
Impatiently standing on the street is just as dangerous as waiting on the divider. Stay on the sidewalk as far from the edge of the curb as possible. In the event of a crash be as far away from McGuinnes Blvd. as possible.
This article was created with pedestrian safety in mind, but I hope drivers who read this realize that they pedestrians, too. As drivers, if we keep that in mind, and as pedestrians if we safely follow street crossing guidelines, McGuinness Blvd. can be a much safer place for everyone.
How about we rip up the pavement and replace it with sod and turn McGuinness Blvd. into a pedestrian walking mall, with a lane for bikes and emergency vehicles?