You may not realize it when walking the streets of the City, but the New York City Department of Transportation puts a lot of though into how you get around safely. One feature of intersections which you may have never noticed is called a Leading Pedestrian Interval, and is designed so that pedestrians have a green light for a few seconds before cars. It allows pedestrians to cross the street faster, and allows cars to turn without as many pedestrians to wait for.
At some intersections, DOT installs Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) which are signals that show a walk sign for pedestrians before showing a green light to vehicular traffic. The goal of these signals is to improve street safety by giving pedestrians a chance to begin crossing the street before cars make turns across the crosswalk.
See how it works in this short video from the NYCDOT.
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