Watch CBS News

Software Glitch Causes Traffic Light Trouble Across New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Drivers and pedestrians alike were urged to tread carefully after a glitch during a routine software upgrade caused problems with traffic lights across multiple intersections in New York City Saturday morning.

The city's Department of Transportation said the problems appeared after a software upgrade, done regularly on weekend nights, experienced an interruption around 5 a.m.

Approximately 600 intersections -- about 5 percent of the city's traffic lights -- were affected at one point, according to authorities. Some became flashing red lights, others went completely dark. 

"It's either an electrical shortage or somebody has forgotten to maintain the equipment," one man said.

"Yeah I do actually, I notice a lot of lights out," said Alexander Pizzaro, of the South Bronx.

Lights at the intersection of 57th Street and 10th Avenue could be seen alternately blinking red and yellow. One woman held up her hand to halt traffic as she crossed the street with her father and her daughter on his shoulders. 

At 57th Street and Seventh Avenue near Carnegie Hall, another woman seemed nervous as she made her way across.

"It's pretty dangerous, huh?" a man said.

A light on Court Street near Second Place in Carroll Gardens was working intermittently throughout the morning. One moment it was out, then seconds later turned red.

Drivers did their best to ease across intersections while avoiding collisions.

"It's absolutely dangerous. I seen it on 42nd Street, too. That's a main street," Pizzaro said.

Officials said the problem did not cause any accidents.

City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-43) said it's a good thing it didn't happen during the work week.

"If more lights had gone out, it really could cause chaos across the city," he told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria.

By 9 p.m. Saturday, DOT officials said lights at all but three intersections had been fixed. In the meantime, officials urged caution when both driving and walking in the city until the issue was fully resolved.

The department said it hadn't experienced Saturday's interruption after previous upgrades.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.