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Stop Signs Along Midtown’s 6 1/2 Avenue Catching Drivers By Surprise

6 1/2 Half Avenue in Midtown (credit: CBS 2)

6 1/2 Half Avenue in Midtown (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New signs are taking drivers by surprise in Midtown and they may be putting pedestrians at risk.

It’s the most basic of all traffic control signs, but “stop” seems more like a suggestion than a command for driver after driver at stop signs on 51st through 56th streets.

People behind the wheel could be seen ignoring the signs along what New York City calls 6 1/2 Avenue — a series of mid-block pedestrian arcades.

“I’m noticing that the cars aren’t stopping. They keep going,” Jose Diaz told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

The stop signs are being ignored by a huge number of drivers.

“It’s New York. Lots of drivers are a bit obnoxious,” one man said.

Over the course of an hour, CBS 2’s Aiello watched dozens of drivers roll right through the new stop signs.

Some of them were distracted by their smartphones, others seemed to be on autopilot, not even noticing the signs had been put up.

One woman at the wheel of an SUV even zoomed through the stop without touching her brakes. Another driver also seemed oblivious to the new sign.

There are two signs and the word “stop” stenciled on the pavement at each of the locations. Despite that, yet another driver said he didn’t expect to see stop signs mid-block.

“It’s an odd thing in New York, when you’re used to these long blocks without stop signs in the middle,” he said.

The Department of Transportation said it anticipated a learning curve for drivers and plans an enforcement effort to remind drivers that stop means stop.

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