Our friends and fellow Streetsblog Network compatriots at Streets MN have knocked it out of the park with their recently analysis and critique of pedestrian crossing design. Why do pedestrians need to press a button to activate a cross walk signal? Automobile drivers need not do the same. And why isn’t the design of our intersections simple enough so that pedestrians can easily and safely cross a street without needing 11 lines of instructions complete with images? More from Streets MN:
Traffic signals on streets with sidewalks (which implies pedestrian traffic either exists or is desired) should ALWAYS have an automatic walk phase, just as every cycle gives green time to cars from every approach. Actuators are fine if they make the walk signal come sooner, but being unpushed should not be used as an excuse not to have a walk phase at all. Car drivers don’t have to go out of their way to press actuators, why should pedestrians?
If traffic is so low you are concerned the time devoted to a pedestrian phase (~12 seconds – 36 ft at 3 fps) is too long (will cause too much vehicle delay) for this two lane roadway, maybe it shouldn’t be a signal but instead a stop sign (which requires no pedestrian signal) or a yield sign. This can be implemented with flashing red lights if you must you electrical gear.