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Pedestrian Signals at Intersections

Why pedestrian signals?

Before traffic volumes increased to the levels we are experiencing today, pedestrians could safely take their cues to cross the intersection from the same traffic signal displays as motorists. Today, intersections are wider and more complex with multiple lanes and special left-turn signals.

Pedestrian movement through intersections with higher traffic volumes and multiple, dedicated driving lanes are controlled by the "Walk" and "Flashing Don’t Walk" symbols.

At some intersections, pedestrians must push the walk button so that the signal will allow enough time to safely cross the street.

How do I know when it is safe to cross?

When the "Walk" signal is displayed, you have the Right-of-Way to safely cross the intersection. Always proceed with caution and cross the intersection defensively and as quickly as possible. Always watch for turning vehicles. You have the legal right to be there, but that doesn’t protect you from the carelessness of some motorists.

Why does the flashing "hand" appear before I’ve finished crossing?

The flashing red hand is a warning to pedestrians who have not yet entered the intersection that it is too late to start their crossing. Pedestrians should not leave the curb when the flashing red hand signal appears. They should continue to cross if they have already started. The combined timing of the solid walk signal hand, and the flashing red hand signal is adequate for a person to safely cross the street.

The length of the pedestrian timings have taken into consideration the crossing of young children, the elderly and the disabled.

Is it really necessary for me to push a button to activate the pedestrian signal? Can’t I just wait for the light to change?

Unless the pedestrian signal button is pushed, the traffic control signal will remain timed for cars, not pedestrians. This timing change is necessary to provide you with adequate time to safely cross the road. You only need to push the button once to activate the change.

Traffic Control | Speed Control | Pedestrian Signals | Left Turns