The Department of Transportation says it hopes to make roughly 500 more intersections accessible to blind and low-vision pedestrians next year.
This comes three months after a federal judge criticized New York City's slow pace of installing the accessible pedestrian signals (APS), which make "audible and vibrotactile indications" to let pedestrians know they can start walking — and said the city must install 9,000 over the next 10 years.
Currently, there are more than 13,000 intersections with traffic lights, but, as of March 1st, only 1,015 have APS — about 8% of all intersections.
Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez told the City Council's transportation committee Wednesday that 147 intersections would get APS this fiscal year, which ends on June 30th, while 400 more would get the technology in the next fiscal year. For the 2023 calendar year, 500 intersections would be made accessible, DOT officials said.
It costs about $63,500 to install APS at an intersection with a traffic light.
The Disability Rights Advocates sued the city in 2018, arguing that "this unlawful system denies blind and low vision pedestrians their independence to navigate city streets safely, preventing them from visiting friends and family; getting to work, school, or home; or shopping and doing business."
Last week, the group and the city proposed a schedule for the installation of APS for the court's approval. The proposed timeline would have 400 intersections installed in 2022; 500 in 2023; 700 in 2025; 900 in 2025 and 2026; and then about 1,000-1,200 every year between 2027 and 2031. The goal is to reach 10,00 intersections in that time, prioritizing dangerous intersections first. Then, between 2032 and 2036, all remaining intersections would be made accessible, per the timeline.
New Yorkers can request an intersection to be considered for APS by submitting a form on the DOT's website. Thirty-seven intersections, across all five boroughs, got APS last month; the full list of the city's APS intersections is here.