GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Six downtown Grand Rapids intersection lights returned to normal signal behavior Monday after two years of flashing as all-way stops.
The city’s Mobile GR department said the flash mode was a pilot program that launched in the spring of 2020 to increase safety and walkability during the pandemic.
“In the beginning when there actually was a decrease in vehicle traffic, it made for a better pedestrian experience,” Mobile GR Assistant Director Jennifer Kasper said. “However, now with event operations returning and vehicle traffic increasing, this makes for a better experience for both drivers and pedestrians.”
The changes were tested at three intersections along Ottawa Avenue and another three along Ionia Avenue in the downtown area.
When the lights were in flash mode, crosswalk indicators did not work. The lack of clear communication regarding when people could safely cross is one of the reasons the traffic light pattern returned to pre-pandemic timing.
“We have optimized signal timing, so it will be actually a shorter light cycle for vehicles,” Kasper said. “So that it does allow pedestrians a greater opportunity than it previous was to cross.”