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Crosswalk timing issues

I am quoted in this article on KARE11 about the FHWA adjusting crosswalk waking speeds from 4.0 ft/s to 3.5 ft/s in 2009:

Crosswalk timing an issue in many MN counties

Reuben Collins is a traffic engineer behind – a blog dedicated to safer transportation – and says the best solution hasn’t been implemented.

“When you think so many households have video-game consoles that can detect pedestrians and pedestrian movements in our own living rooms, we should have this technology in traffic signals,” said Collins.

He says it’s possible for signals to sense when someone is in the intersection, but why sensors aren’t used, Collins believes, goes back to a culture centered around wheels more than walking.

“I am not sure all the agencies out there will have the resources to necessarily comply with this. This is not new guidance. It’s been on the books for several years and agencies are just now starting the process,” said Collins.

Some additional context for the quote that didn’t make the article is that there are a lot of reasons why Crosswalk Occupancy Detection hasn’t been widely deployed. Culture is one. Cost, reliability, and a lack of local experience with the technology are other reasons.

1 comment to Crosswalk timing issues

  • Saw this posted on Facebook a while ago. Congrats! However, don’t you feel like the new guidelines are kind of a mixed blessing for timed signals? That is, for most pedestrian signals in the City of Minneapolis or St Paul, the ped signals are on a fixed timing with the green. The changes will simply mean that more time is dedicated to the the “don’t walk” cycle and less time to the “walk” cycle.

    Now this wouldn’t be such an issue if our laws weren’t so out of date. The way it’s currently written, it is unlawful to enter an intersection if the upraised hand is flashing — even if the signal is equipped with a countdown, and you can be reasonably certain that you will make it across in the allotted time.

    I also worry that the longer guidelines will encourage engineers to use fewer automatic signals, and more beg buttons. There were no beg buttons at all on Lyndale, but when the portion from Minnehaha Pkwy to Lake Street was reconstructed, basically every east-west crossing cycle was disabled, unless the pedestrian hits the button.

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