Dear Lady Standing on the Corner Pressing The Crosswalk Button Hundreds of Times,

You only need to press it once.

kthxbye.

18 Replies to “Dear Lady Standing on the Corner Pressing The Crosswalk Button Hundreds of Times,”

  1. It’s my understanding it only registers the first press as an indicator to light the “Walk” sign when the light changes. It isn’t wired to speed up the actual light-change. Those are carefully (ha) calibrated to match traffic patterns. If every light in LA sped up or slowed down ‘cuz people were on the corner pressing the button, we’d have even worse traffic, which is hard to imagine…

  2. actually, this sounds like a la city nerd question… But I have noticed that the light lasts longer when you press the button giving you more time to cross in addition to the walk sign. Also, I don’t think LA has any traffic calibrated lights yet.

  3. I’ve been under the impression that if pressed, it will lengthen the green light sufficiently for a pedestrian to make it across, it does not make the green light happen quicker (exception; see below). I’m pretty sure that this does not apply to all lights, only ones that are normally timed faster than it takes to cross.

    I also remember seeing some lights where the walk light does not come on when the green is on _unless_ the button is pressed (again, only on un-synchronized lights like the ones on suburban side streets). If you cross against the don’t-walk light, the green will turn to red before you make it across, making you a target for traffic from your right (!)

    But wot do I know…

    BTW, yes, you only have to press it once, and then only until you feel the “click” of the switch. I’ve seen (the older style) apart, and the switch body is spring-mounted so it cannot be damaged by over-enthusiastic button pressage.

  4. What about waiting for the light to turn green while sitting in your car? There’s the flashing of the headlights thing that’s supposed to speed up the lights. I heard this works because the lights are sensitive to emergency vehicles flashing lights.
    And what about the driving over the crosswalk forward then in reverse to make the light change quicker. I’ve done this and I swear it works but maybe it’s just my imagination. Does anyone know for sure?

  5. Ever consider it might just be kinda fun/something to do while you wait for the light? I particularly like the large yellow buttons so I can smash ’em up good!

  6. I cannot imagine only pressing it once! :)

    Seriously, a) there’s no real feedback to let you know the press was accepted, so it is reasonable to press it a couple of times and b) it just feels so damned good to press it again and again. I don’t have OCD, but at a crossing I truly understand the compulsion!

    BTW, it’s not just suburban side streets. Immediately coming to mind is the light at Los Feliz and Vermont. The walk light only lights if you’ve pressed the button, not everytime the light is green. In fact, if you walk up to the intersection while the light is green, pressing the button will sometimes immediately switch the sign to walk (if there’s enough time left in the cycle for a pedestrian crossing).

  7. I have tested the ones near my house and found that pressing and holding to a count of ~10 makes it change sooner than it does when I press it for a shorter time. I swear. but repeated jabbing doesn’t make it turn any faster, it just feels good.

  8. I love pressing the crosswalk buttons over and over in Glendale on Brand Bl. near the Galleria. They make this hypnotic sounding beeping noise that I can’t get enough of. So fun.

  9. I know that some of the lights change only when someone is present and late at night, when there is no traffic, a side street crossing a main street will sometimes not trigger a green light ever unless a car appears or someone presses the button (you can see the car sensors as square seams near the crosswalk). In fact in some areas, like Davis where I used to live, there are actually BIKE SENSORS that trip the lights as well, so you dont have to press the button while biking. So, pressing the button (once) does certainly enable the light to change sometimes. That doesnt stop me from pressing it more often, especially the ones in Ventura that beep when you press on them.

  10. Thankfully I live in the Fashion District where we don’t have any silly crosswalk buttons (or at least very few). Hey – we have enough to deal with down here as it is!!!

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