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Thread: Timed "walk" signals

  1. #1

    Electric!! Timed "walk" signals

    I am seeing a few pedestrian "walk-don't walk" signals with a count down timer, here and there. Anyone think this is a bad idea? Keep in mind that the timer is visible to the parallel drivers who ostensibly have a green light (in the normally sequenced intersection). Will that visible timer encourage any drivers to speed up to beat the light change?

    At first I was negative toward it, but have had a change of heart.

    Edit--If you haven't seen one, when the signal flashes "walk" (to the pedestrian) it also has a mechanism that flashes a number (anywhere from 7 to 20) that counts down. When it reaches zero, "don't walk" flashes up. The don't walk is NOT accompanied by a timer countdown.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Timed "walk" signals

    I love them! As a driver, I see that pedestrians move a little more quickly, and people aren't lollygaggin along when the light changes. As a pedestrian, I know when, and when not to, lollygag. They are popping up around Chicago, especially in tourist areas. It's fantastic!!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Timed "walk" signals

    I first saw them in downtown Indianapolis for the 2003 World Team Trials, and, as a pedestrian, found them to be very helpful too. Esp if you were coming up to the signal -- the countdown gave you an idea of whether you could hoof it and make it across the intersection, or should wait till the next cycle if the countdown was nearing zero. (I sense the countdown cuts out a lot of the pedestrians trying to cross when there's a "Don't Walk" signal, which enhances walker safety, and improves vehicular traffic flow, too.)

    On a related note, I remember hearing someone complain a few years ago when the "Walk/Don't Walk" (or "Walk/Wait") signals with words were being replaced by the pictogram of the walker/hand. They thought it was yet another example of the "dumbing down" of America. I always assumed it was for those who couldn't read English -- children, foreign visitors, etc.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Timed "walk" signals

    You would right on assuming that. They are universal signals that are used world wide, along with a lot more.

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