The point I think the Brew is making; is imagine going into the city's planing offices and turning off all the elevator indicator lights so you would have no idea if the button you pushed worked or not, wouldn't that be a great improvement to calling the elevators?
So why do these same people think a button that fails to meet 20th century standards and frustrates the heck out of people is appropriate for people crossing a busy road? Did you forget to press the button or is the button broken because people are banging the heck out of it as it does not do a darn thing when you press it? You don't know do you? Good, now try and cross the street.... gotcha it wasn't safe to cross and you almost got killed, ha ha ha.
It really feels like a sick joke when so called "traffic engineers" make these kind of :"improvements" by now requiring people to push a button that came straight from the 1936 film Flash Gordon:
look closely at the rocket ship control panel, those are are crossing buttons used in Baltimore. ;)
"City Department of Transportation deputy director Jamie Kendrick acknowledged there’s been a change – “we repaired the pedestrian push buttons and vehicle detectors” — but says it’s for the better.
“Pedestrians again, as before, now have to push the button to get the walk indications,” Kendrick wrote, in an email to The Brew. "
Yep, still using 1936 technology because we never got the memo we should think about upgrading. :s
Rebecca Smith, founder of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance writes a wonderful letter to Michael Dresser explaining the problem with the problem with the new pedestrian signals.
The problem is much like what David Hembrow wrote about in The significance of signal timing that treats bicyclists and pedestrians as second class road users
But here the pedestrian signal timing is such that you can't cross when the signal is green for cars and you can't cross when the signal red and then finally you have 4 seconds to get across the road, that is assuming you pressed that button.
Seriously, don't walk in Baltimore, we have the highest count of pedestrians in traffic crashes then any other county.
42% of our traffic fatalities are pedestrians.
Like Rebecca we are wondering where is the City's Complete Street Policy is in all this.
The following is worth repeating from the Sun article:
We request the following changes, effective immediately:
1) The timing of signals needs to be restored to its previous state. Timing has significantly overcompensated and is frustrating not only to walkers, but also to drivers on Wolfe, Ann, etc.
2) There MUST be a walk signal with EVERY light change. This is a high pedestrian traffic area and a business district. Anything else is both unsafe and not in keeping with a Complete Streets policy.
3) As a show of commitment to the community, these intersections should receive the "count down" signals that have been placed in other areas in the city. The light signals should be changed so that there is a grace period when cross traffic lights change from green to red. People run red lights at these intersections frequently, and walkers and drivers need a grace period. Aliceanna at Wolfe is also long overdue for a walk signal.