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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2021, 12:43 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Changes recommended for crosswalks in Halifax

I have read this story 3 times and still cannot understand what it is saying:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-...ifax-1.5883743

Quote:
Pushing a button to cross at a crosswalk in Halifax could soon be less common, if recommendations from the city's transportation standing committee move forward.

The majority of pedestrian intersections would automatically display the walk light. Cars would have to stop regardless of whether there's a person waiting to cross.

"It's very good news for pedestrians," said Ahsan Habib, a transportation professor at Dalhousie University, adding it might be frustrating for drivers.
...
Right now, accessible pedestrian signals — audible signals like beeping — are activated only after someone holds down the crosswalk button for three seconds.

After engaging with people from the blind and visually impaired community, staff heard that the need to hold the button for three seconds was often a barrier to people who use a cane, guide dog, or have mobility issues.

Now, the audible signal could be heard with a single press of the button.

"This is probably the best decision [the city] ever made for tackling accessibility issues ... This will take us a long way to make our road space safer for mobility-restricted people," Habib said.

I don't get how the automatic activation would work. There was also a version of the story that said that drivers would need to stop at crosswalks even if there was nobody crossing, but that seems to have been edited out now. I suppose its all just another salvo in HRM's war on motorists.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2021, 1:26 PM
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Crosswalk buttons or not I hope any driver slows down and scans the intersection before blazing through. Given that cars and pedestrians mostly go in the same direction anyway, the walking signal is just a reminder for turning cars to check for pedestrians.

Some busy crosswalks are just plain broken; you spam the button, wait your turn, but you still get the orange hand.

Don’t disagree on the article being poorly written...
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2021, 4:51 PM
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The article is a real 'head shaker' for sure. I can understand the need for push buttons for mid-block crosswalks and to turn on a beep sound for the visually impaired but otherwise, I see no value in the damn things. I can't count the number of times over the years that I haven't even been able to reach the button by Lawtons on the corner of Duffus and Novalea due to snow piled up by the street and sidewalk plows. Days can pass before those things are dug out following a major snowfall. And who in their right mind is going to stand in the rain for a full cycle of light changes after having arrived a second too late to press the button following a green light in the direction they are heading? And now there's two sets of rules depending on the time of day? Stickers!? We're going to buy stickers and have staff stick them on poles all over the city? Peter Kelly is likely to come along and peel them all off...just say'n. And finally... noise pollution. Are we really ok with folks living practically underneath the McKay bridge which suffers constant and loud (no button required) click clicking due to traffic crossing bridge expansion joints, but not the occasional beeping of a crosswalk? Build a stadium in Shannon Park.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2021, 10:18 PM
atbw atbw is offline
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I don't think the author understood what they were referring to. I think the crux of it is that lighted intersections with button-operated pedestrian signals will give pedestrians a walk signal by default. Pushing the button will now only serve to provide an audible signal upon request. I see this is as good as the old measure usually resulted in either wasting pedestrians' time, or pushing them to 'jaywalk' through instead of waiting for a whole light cycle. I have no idea how this would realistically vehicular impact traffic whatsoever.

I don't see this being applied to mid-block crosswalks, and wouldn't see the point in them being on all the time - they only catch drivers' attention because they -aren't- on all the time.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2021, 1:37 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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Yeah, this is for crosswalks at intersections. A while back (maybe 10ish years?) HRM started making it so the pedestrian walk light wouldn’t change unless you pushed the button. So you could be faced with a "don’t walk" signal while cars going the same direction had a green light. It sucks as a pedestrian because if you arrive at an intersection even 1 second after the light turns green you’ll have to wait a whole light cycle to get a "walk" signal.

They’re switching back to the old way of doing things where the walk signal will go white when the car light is green, even without a button push.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2021, 4:49 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanWatson View Post
Yeah, this is for crosswalks at intersections. A while back (maybe 10ish years?) HRM started making it so the pedestrian walk light wouldn’t change unless you pushed the button. So you could be faced with a "don’t walk" signal while cars going the same direction had a green light. It sucks as a pedestrian because if you arrive at an intersection even 1 second after the light turns green you’ll have to wait a whole light cycle to get a "walk" signal.

They’re switching back to the old way of doing things where the walk signal will go white when the car light is green, even without a button push.
This makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

As a pedestrian, and one who refuses to jay-walk unless the traffic signal is broken and/or there are no vehicles in sight or within earshot, I've been frustrated arriving at a signal that just turned green but have to wait an entire cycle for the walk signal.

As a motorist, you never blindly make a right or left turn on a green, whether there's a walk signal or not. You just can't predict what pedestrians (or cyclists, unfortunately) will do. And every time you drive your car or truck, a second of inattention has the potential to seriously harm or kill a pedestrian or cyclist. So, if motorists now know (though they won't by reading the article posted) that a walk signal will predictably come on when the light turns green, even the inattentive ones should expect that a pedestrian could be crossing.

This is a good move by HRM, IMHO.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 12:22 PM
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I wonder what the original rationale for the buttons was? Walk signals always used to be synched with green traffic lights but turned red some number of seconds ion advance of the light changing to yellow/red in order to give pedestrians time to finish crossing.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 1:51 PM
Summerville Summerville is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
I wonder what the original rationale for the buttons was? Walk signals always used to be synched with green traffic lights but turned red some number of seconds ion advance of the light changing to yellow/red in order to give pedestrians time to finish crossing.
...and driver's, a little advance notice that the light was going to change to yellow.

It used to be called a "stale green light" when the walk signal had switched to yield.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 5:08 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I've noticed that they will speed up the cycle to turn on the walk signal at some intersections, but it doesn't seem to work at all of them. I'm sure there are programming specifications depending on the traffic count, etc.

As a driver and a pedestrian, I've really come to appreciate the countdown timers on the walk signals. Knowing exactly how much time is left is a really useful tool to have.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2021, 8:32 PM
Takeo Takeo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
I wonder what the original rationale for the buttons was?
Optimization of traffic flow for cars I believe. I think pressing the button doesn’t give you a walk signal and sooner than the default timing but if the button is NOT pressed it may give priority to cars for a little longer, depending on the time of day. Or something like that. The buttons are very pedestrian hostile. I’m both driver and pedestrian and live in an area with a ton of stores, restaurants, shops, etc. in walking distance. So I walk a lot and those buttons are infuriating.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2021, 12:23 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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All the whining about pressing a button to get a crosswalk signal. And then there are all the complaints that life is dangerous for pedestrians. The only place where my pedestrian life is endangered is on the pathways of Dartmouth Common where cyclists think using a bell is optional as they fly past people of all ages on the pathways. If any reader cycles through the lands designated as Dartmouth Common I suggest she/he remembers one thing :- under the law pedestrians have PRIORITY on all lands identified as 'Dartmouth Common' in section 66 (6) (c)
https://nslegislature.ca/sites/defau...%20charter.pdf
I rarely walk in Dartmouth Common;100 yds from my house, because it is no longer safe for pedestrians of any age - a sidewalk is choice when walking where I live.
Cycle fans will be pleased to know that in a day or two Darren Fisher MP will announce a bikeway on my street. https://www.halifax.ca/sites/default...hemdcc1313.pdf
Cost to taxpayers is estimated at $864,000 with most of the money coming from federal and provincial budgets.
The streets needs new paving, new curbs and gutters and new sidewalks. In parts of Dahlia street the sidewalk is collapsing into properties on the south side. The cost for this work has not been made public and is the full responsibility of HRM. Looking forward to a nice new safe street for pedestrians who greatly outnumber cyclists by a factor of 5.
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2021, 12:28 PM
Keith P.'s Avatar
Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
All the whining about pressing a button to get a crosswalk signal. And then there are all the complaints that life is dangerous for pedestrians. The only place where my pedestrian life is endangered is on the pathways of Dartmouth Common where cyclists think using a bell is optional as they fly past people of all ages on the pathways. If any reader cycles through the lands designated as Dartmouth Common I suggest she/he remembers one thing :- under the law pedestrians have PRIORITY on all lands identified as 'Dartmouth Common' in section 66 (6) (c)
https://nslegislature.ca/sites/defau...%20charter.pdf
I rarely walk in Dartmouth Common;100 yds from my house, because it is no longer safe for pedestrians of any age - a sidewalk is choice when walking where I live.
Cycle fans will be pleased to know that in a day or two Darren Fisher MP will announce a bikeway on my street. https://www.halifax.ca/sites/default...hemdcc1313.pdf
Cost to taxpayers is estimated at $864,000 with most of the money coming from federal and provincial budgets.
The streets needs new paving, new curbs and gutters and new sidewalks. In parts of Dahlia street the sidewalk is collapsing into properties on the south side. The cost for this work has not been made public and is the full responsibility of HRM. Looking forward to a nice new safe street for pedestrians who greatly outnumber cyclists by a factor of 5.
The Feds continue to burn taxpayer money at an alarming rate.

I won't chime in to agree with your opinion on the bikeway (although I of course totally do) because I don't want to cause anxiety among those easily afflicted. I might suggest picking up a gently used Louisville Slugger however and turning it into a walking stick for your next stroll through Dartmouth Common. I too have witnessed the witless cyclists flying through there with no regard to anyone on foot.
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2021, 5:20 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
All the whining about pressing a button to get a crosswalk signal. And then there are all the complaints that life is dangerous for pedestrians. The only place where my pedestrian life is endangered is on the pathways of Dartmouth Common where cyclists think using a bell is optional as they fly past people of all ages on the pathways. If any reader cycles through the lands designated as Dartmouth Common I suggest she/he remembers one thing :- under the law pedestrians have PRIORITY on all lands identified as 'Dartmouth Common' in section 66 (6) (c)
https://nslegislature.ca/sites/defau...%20charter.pdf
I rarely walk in Dartmouth Common;100 yds from my house, because it is no longer safe for pedestrians of any age - a sidewalk is choice when walking where I live.
Cycle fans will be pleased to know that in a day or two Darren Fisher MP will announce a bikeway on my street. https://www.halifax.ca/sites/default...hemdcc1313.pdf
Cost to taxpayers is estimated at $864,000 with most of the money coming from federal and provincial budgets.
The streets needs new paving, new curbs and gutters and new sidewalks. In parts of Dahlia street the sidewalk is collapsing into properties on the south side. The cost for this work has not been made public and is the full responsibility of HRM. Looking forward to a nice new safe street for pedestrians who greatly outnumber cyclists by a factor of 5.
While it has been literally decades since I walked through that park, I can relate as on a recent trip to Ottawa we encountered similar difficulties just trying to walk on the shared path alongside the Ottawa River. Probably about half the cyclists used the bell to warn you of their approach from behind, with some non-bell-ringers speeding by so closely that you could feel the wind from their passing. It made the walk not so enjoyable as I felt I had to continually shoulder check to see if any were approaching from the rear, and you had to make sure you didn't make any sideways movements for fear of a painful collision.

To be honest, as a cyclist in my younger days I couldn't see the attraction of cycling through the park vs just zipping down Park Avenue to pick up the lower Dartmouth streets. The pathways in the park were really too narrow (and rough in those days) to cycle when sharing with pedestrians, especially kids who could suddenly dart in any direction.

[cranky old man rant] I suppose things are different nowadays as folks seem to be more concerned with their 'rights' to do something than what effect their activities may have on others... [/cranky old man rant]
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