Pedestrian crosswalks have a new look

You may soon notice changes to crosswalks while out on your daily meander.

As part of our routine signal maintenance activities, we’re changing the push buttons on some signaled pedestrian crossings to make crossing easier, safer, and more efficient.

The changes are primarily at locations where the crosswalk crosses a median.

“We’ve noticed people sometimes stop in the middle of a crossing, and we don’t want to encourage it,” said Lori Garet, Traffic Signals Design and Construction Engineer with the City.

“We want people to push the appropriate button or buttons, make sure it’s safe to cross, and get to the other side as safely and quickly as possible.”

A narrow median stands in the middle of a street.

As we move through the city doing our routine crossing inspections and maintenance, we’re making changes where we can as time and budget allows.

At locations with narrow medians, we are making the signal time longer and removing the median button. The lights will now flash across the whole crossing for the duration of the signal. This way, pedestrians can just go from one side, over the median, and on to the other without stopping. We’re also adding low flashing lights at some locations to better catch motorists’ attention.

At locations with wider medians, we are replacing some dual-button poles (one pole with a button for each direction of travel) with two poles that clearly show which is for which direction.

“We’ve noticed people sometimes press the wrong button,” said Garet.

A wide median stands in the middle of a street.

“Over time we discover that there are better or more effective ways of doing things. That’s why we need to make changes.”

“Our primary goal is to keep people safe. This change reduces the room for user error and makes the crossings more likely to be visible to drivers at the right time, in the right direction.” 

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