Plan to extend ‘green man’ crossing time approved in principle

Ciarán Cuffe argued longer crossing period better for Dublin’s vulnerable pedestrians

A Green Party councillor wants the “green man” time extended at pedestrian crossings. Photograph: Dan Griffin

A Green Party councillor wants the “green man” time extended at pedestrian crossings. Photograph: Dan Griffin


Dublin city councillors have voted in principle to extend the length of time by one second that the “green man” appears at pedestrian crossing traffic lights.

The motion, tabled by Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe, came before the Dublin City Council’s transportation committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Cuffe’s motion argued that a longer crossing period would be better for more vulnerable pedestrians.

“That the ‘green man’ period at pedestrian signals throughout the city centre be increased by one second in order to better facilitate more vulnerable road users who would benefit from additional crossing time,” it read.

Brendan O’Brien, head of technical services with the council, told members that the “green time” part of the traffic light sequence was “the invitation to cross”.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that when you step onto the road that you have enough time to cross,” he said.

Mr O’Brien suggested instead increasing the length of time of the amber part of the sequence, which is the time allowed for pedestrians to safely cross the road after they have stepped out.

“That would be what we would normally do. The amber time is the safety time and that’s the one that’s worked out at a certain speed per second and it’s the one we would normally increase to ensure that people can safely cross the road,” Mr O’Brien said.

Fiona Kielty, of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, spoke in favour of increasing the green part of the sequence because the beeping sound was a “sound cue” for people who are visually impaired.

Ms Kielty said other people would get used to the beeping sound being on for “that little bit longer” if it were to be increased by one second.

Mr Cuffe suggested that the substantive motion be passed and that council management would come back to the members to report on the technical issues involved.

He said he was conscious that all the city’s traffic lights were “linked up” and that there were technical issues around any changes.

The committee passed the motion on that basis.