Push-to-walk at Ashland and Leland is finally gone

September 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

I have written a few posts about push-to-walk buttons in general, and specifically a signal at Ashland and Leland that made no sense: the light was timed such that the red/green cycles on both streets were always the same. The only difference is that pushing the push-to-walk button illuminated the pedestrian crossing signal to cross Ashland, which was otherwise inactive.

Ashland Ave and Leland Ave. View Larger Map

I received an email this morning from Alderman Pawar’s office that after a “number of people” requested the signal to always display the pedestrian crossing signal, CDOT conducted a study and the light will always display a pedestrian crossing signal when Leland traffic has the green light for 30 seconds. I did notice this change this morning when I was out walking my dog. I don’t know who the “number of people” are, but thank you for speaking up!

This is small, but nonetheless important because it will improve pedestrian safety. Previously, pedestrians had no idea how long the green light for traffic on Leland would stay illuminated, and had to guess whether or not it was safe to cross 75 feet of Ashland without the proper signal. The signal was always timed for pedestrians, but the crossing light for pedestrians did not illuminate. Bicyclists on Leland will now also find it safer to proceed through the intersection on green, as there is a pedestrian crossing countdown timer that often proves helpful to those on bikes.

Push-to-walk buttons are a relic of the car-first days of city planning that gave priority to vehicular traffic while forcing pedestrians to ask permission to cross the street. Every one that is removed is an improvement in walkability.