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KUTV.com | Stories - Good Question: Crosswalk Buttons
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Good Question: Crosswalk Buttons

(KUTV) To avoid having crossing the street turn into a real life game of Frogger, you're supposed to wait for that little white walk-man saying you're clear to go. To hail that walk-man at many crosswalks is a button but does pushing the crosswalk button do anything more than produce a beep?

Ryan from Cottonwood Heights has his doubts. He wrote to me that "sometimes it seems" pushing the button does "nothing at all."

Signal Engineer for the Utah Department of Transportation Adam Lough says, rest assured, a pedestrian is not wasting their effort pushing the button.

“We wouldn't put them out there if they didn't work," he said.

At every intersection there is a box called a traffic signal controller. Inside the box, Adam showed me how pushing the button signaled the intersection that there is a pedestrian waiting. That means that, when it is safe to do so, the walk-man will be displayed. How long it takes for the intersection to offer the pedestrian the walk-man depends on the time of day and the complexity of the intersection.

"We can't just stop everybody every time a pedestrian pushes the button,” Adam said. “Otherwise traffic would be horrendous."

Pushing the button once works, but how about pushing the button repeatedly? Adam says it does not good. Once the intersection has been signaled there is one pedestrian, it makes no difference how many times the button is pushed.

Thanks, Ryan for the good question. If you have on email Gephardt@kutv.tv or call (801) 839-1250.

Reported by: Matt Gephardt
Edited by Ryan Malavolta
Photography by Brian Morris

(Copyright 2013 - Sinclair Broadcasting Group)

Good Question: Crosswalk Buttons

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