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Two Timer Speeds at Pedestrian Crosswalks

1 button for slow movers, 1 button for average movers.
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
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Sometimes, when sitting at a red light waiting for a person who has already finished crossing a street, I feel frustrated. It seems that all new crosswalks in Southern California have visible countdown timers. Also, it seems they're designed with very conservative timings. A "normal" walker would finish crossing with over 10 seconds left on the visible timer. If there was a second button which allowed less time to cross, maybe a lot of time could be saved by drivers. One button would trigger the current conservative timing, and the second would trigger the quicker timing. Maybe pressing the conservative button would cancel out any earlier or later pressing of the quicker timing button.
miggavin, Dec 05 2011

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       Did we talk about this recently, or did I just think it?   

       Anyway, the high-speed crossing option could have a slightly shorter delay timer before the lights change. If alternative modes are pressed on opposite sides of the crossing, you'd get the shorter timer but conservative crossing time.   

       Long delay timers at crossings are stupid for many roads anyway. There's one at the end of my street which has a 40 second timer (and it's a dual carriage-way, so you need to wait twice). There's moderate vehicle but fairly light pedestrian traffic.
So if there are several cars coming, people push the button. Generally there's a crossable gap before the lights have changed, so the cars after that have to wait for no reason. If the timer was short, some people might wait a moment to see how constant the traffic was before pressing the button.
Loris, Dec 05 2011

       Variable delays, however, would cause even bigger headaches, since they would change the timing of the traffic signals, which (if somebody has their head screwed on properly) have been set to balance traffic flow at peak periods without congesting the roadways. Start messing with that timing, and you'll get honking horns, flaring tempers, and collisions. This in turn will lead to irate cops and flustered city officials, and then everyone suffers (except those of us who have the good fortune to not live in a city).   

       Anyway, everyone knows the button doesn't do anything. It's just a little box with a spring inside.
Alterother, Dec 05 2011

       It would be easier and faster to install a crosswalk rope- swing. Maybe not safer though.
swimswim, Dec 05 2011

       Didn't we already do a pedestrian-launching, street-crossing trebuchet? Or was it a catapult?
Canuck, Dec 05 2011

       Hopefully both, allowing the pedestrian to follow their whim.
swimswim, Dec 05 2011

       //street-crossing trebuchet//   

       “Why did the trebuchet cross the road?”   

pocmloc, Dec 05 2011

       //Two Timer Speeds at Pedestrian Crosswalks// Well, he would, wouldn't he?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 05 2011

       What happens when a speed walker presses the "fast" button, but is followed unto the crossing by someone creeping forward in a zimmer frame?
xenzag, Dec 05 2011

       Maybe they'd press the slow walker button and the difference would be added to the timer, but a one time thing, can't keep adding time. Or the person with the zimmer frame would wait for next cycle and hit slow button I guess, but the slow button would always take precedence in the system.
miggavin, Dec 05 2011

       There should be a third button, with even shorter time-to-cross for pedestrians of a competitive disposition.
mouseposture, Dec 05 2011

       //Variable delays, however, would cause even bigger headaches, since they would change the timing of the traffic signals, which (if somebody has their head screwed on properly) have been set to balance traffic flow at peak periods without congesting the roadways. Start messing with that timing, <hilarity ensues>//   

       I thought we were talking about pedestrian crossings, not traffic junctions. That probably explains why you think the button doesn't do anything - it may not, at junctions.
Loris, Dec 06 2011

       I've sat at enough traffic signals for enough of my life to make me believe that the various city systems aren't perfect. So I doubt that "variable delays" or what I mean, which is just a second option, would slow down what is less than already perfectly efficient. I wouldn't believe in it if I didn't think it would speed up traffic slightly.
miggavin, Dec 06 2011

       This would be highly useful in areas with a high population density of both Boy Scouts and Little Old Ladies who, whether they like it or not, will be helped across the street by said Boy Scout(s) (sometimes dragging, depending on whether the Little Old Lady falls down or offers stiff resistance). I myself was a Boy Scout for a couple of weeks, and I can personally attest that some of those old gals get pretty feisty when trying to get them across the street(especially the ones dragging a dog), so as you can clearly see it is easy to get discouraged --- especially when there is a RIVAL GANG of Boy Scouts on the other side of the street waiting to run her back across. Sometimes this can go on all afternoon, and... Wait, what was the original question? Something about lutefisk or vuvuzelas?   

       Uh, bun, I think [+].
Grogster, Dec 06 2011


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