Greater City Providence

Steven Can Plan: Let’s get rid of beg buttons

Atwells Avenue and Dean Street

walkinpvd-iconThis is a mechanism wherein a person walking along a street must apply to cross another street. You are begging for permission. They are not popular, many are not even hooked up anymore, and they don’t call the pedestrian signal any sooner (their purpose is to make the green traffic signal long enough for a person to cross).

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  • Could do what they do in D.C. The individual directions of cars are allowed through. Then all four sides of vehicular traffic go red. All walk signals in all directions count down from sixty seconds. No buttons, nothing. I quite like that one.

  • I’m not sure if whoever said that quote is being sarcastic or not but this has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Without pedestrian push-buttons signals would be changing when they don’t have to, like on Dorrance Street, unless a person actually has to cross the street. All ped buttons are hooked up. They’re not there just to do nothing. Providence isn’t New York City where there are thousands of people trying to cross an intersection at once. Ped buttons in New York may be obsolete but they aren’t obsolete in Providence. So while we’re getting rid of “beg buttons” why don’t we get rid of all vehicle sensing devices at traffic signals like loop detectors and those cameras that detect vehicles. Cars are always begging for green lights.

  • I’m pretty sure the lights downtown are timed and not triggered by a sensor. Maybe I’m wrong. But if I’m right, then there’s no reason to have a beg button because the walk light should always change when the traffic light changes. It doesn’t matter if there is 1 or 1000 pedestrians. And of all the streets you could have chosen as an example to make your point, Dorrance Street probably has one of the higher concentrations of pedestrians being so close to Kennedy Plaza.

  • I’m referring to the eastern side of Dorrance Street near Clifford Street. Richmond Street’s signals also apply to my example. I’m rarely in Providence during peek travel times so maybe there are a lot of peds on the eastern side of Dorrance and Richmond Street. The Kennedy Plaza lights are fully actuated so there should be push-buttons at those lights. If a signal is not fully actuated and changes automatically and there are no ped push-buttons then of course the ped signal should also change. I know that new installations, like the lights on Weybosset Street and Empire Street, are fully actuated making them need push-buttons. Some of the signals on Broad Street were upgraded with preemption, video vehicle detection, and ped signals with push-buttons. I think instead of removing push-buttons the city’s traffic engineers should be retiming pedestrian intervals. A lot of the city’s ped signals do not conform with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices standards.

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