Talk to the Hand

That’s how I feel while waiting at South and Glen or at Hudson and Elm. I’m a detail person, and am indulging in a rant over the setup of our pedestrian crossings. Please bear with me.

Wait awhile

When I push the button and wait for the pedestrian signal to change, it takes a while, and then a while longer, and sometimes a bit longer. When I do get the signal to cross, I must remain wary of vehicles turning left and right. Yes, there are rules that turning vehicles must yield to pedestrians. We also know how well everyone follows the rules of the road. If compliance is 99%, do I still look forward to each crossing? What happens when I  cross the 100th time? Is there a way to improve the odds?

Back in May, I visited Troy and wanted to cross both 10th Street and Hoosick Street for a coffee at Stewarts. Hoosick has four lanes, not counting the left-turn lanes. 10th has two lanes with an extra to receive northbound traffic. I figured that, after pushing the button, I would be a tin duck in a shooting gallery. Not so. When my turn came, the traffic signals turned red for all lanes and all pedestrian signals turned white at all corners. For thirty or more seconds, all pedestrians from all directions could cross with confidence. All drivers waited. I crossed eight lanes with plenty of time to spare. Traffic didn’t stack up either.

Prosperity in Downtown requires welcoming pedestrians, and on leaving good impressions with visitors. Thoughtful attention to street crossings is important. We will study several intersections in town. It’s on the “to do” list. Thank you for your attention to my rant.