Drivers ‘seeing red’ over Mérida’s confusing new pedestrian traffic lights

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Drivers in Mérida say that the new green pedestrian crosswalk lights are a menace, but City Hall says it’s “all about getting used to them.” Photo: Courtesy

Drivers in Mérida are complaining about new pedestrian crosswalk lights being installed across the city.

The problem arises from the fact that the new crosswalk lights are green, just like the international traffic light signal for “go.”

“Often times you find yourself sitting at a red light, and then out of the corner of your eye you see green. We have been programmed all our lives to understand that this means go, so it gets very confusing,” said Mérida resident Emmanuel Canul. 

The first of these pedestrian crosswalks began to be installed along Paseo de Montejo last year, but are now being seen across the city. 

It is unknown if confusion over these new traffic lights has resulted in any traffic accidents, but anecdotal evidence would suggest this to be the case. 

“The fact that these crosswalks are popping up all over the city is a good thing, we will just have to be patient and get used to them,” said Everardo Flores of the pro urban cycling organization, Cicloturixes.

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The problem with the pedestrian crosswalk lights according to critics of the local government is not that they exist, just that their color scheme is confusing and poorly thought out.

For its part, City Hall has come out to defend the new crosswalk system, citing that this is the international standard.

“This is the way it is done across the world and we don’t have any evidence of it causing issues anywhere else,” said a press statement from Mérida’s City Hall. 

This, however, is not true, as pedestrian crosswalks in many countries including Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, and several states in the U.S. tend to be white to avoid this type of confusion. 

A pedestrian crossing sign in New York City is white light. Photo: Getty

While city officials claim that these types of crosswalks do not create confusion elsewhere, it has been a topic of debate in several U.S. states including Texas.

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