Monday, October 24, 2011

Hurry, the Light Is Changing...Psych!

I've discussed countdown crosswalk signals before (specifically, the lack of them in New York and the absurdly long countdowns in D.C.).

San Francisco's model makes the most sense to me: The timer counts down until the "don't walk" signal appears. (Crazy, I know.) Well, here in Berkeley, they get a little more creative. Along Martin Luther King Way, the signals often count down, only to switch back to "walk." WTF?

Here's a video shot on Martin Luther King.

I guess the idea is to warn pedestrians that the light *could* be about to change. But if there's no cross traffic, it reverts to "walk."

Still, it's a bit disconcerting. And does it teach people to basically ignore them altogether?

Maybe some traffic engineers out there have thoughts on this.