How Do Pedestrian Signals Work?
A pedestrian signal allows a safer way for pedestrians to cross the street at signalized intersections. The pedestrian signal, when activated, provides time for the pedestrian to enter the street during the steady "WALK" and to finish crossing the street during the flashing "DON'T WALK" signal. The pedestrian signal is normally activated by a pedestrian detector push-button that causes the controller to operate a pre-programmed time sequence of steady "WALK" and flashing "DON'T WALK" signals.
Pedestrian signal indications consist of "WALK" and "DON'T WALK" signals or international symbols displaying a person walking for "WALK" and a hand for "DON'T WALK". The "WALK", or person walking symbol, is displayed in white, and the "DON'T WALK", or hand symbol, is displayed in Portland orange. Another feature which can be added is a display of a "countdown" timer which coincides with the flashing "DON'T WALK."
The pedestrian signal sequence begins when the "WALK" signal is illuminated. This sequence is normally 4 to 7 seconds long and allows enough time to leave the curb and begin crossing the street in the direction of the "WALK" indication. At some locations where there are many pedestrians crossing, a longer "WALK" interval may be used.
Flashing "DON'T WALK"
The pedestrian clearance interval consists of a flashing "DON'T WALK" signal. During this interval pedestrians should complete their crossing, however, they should not begin crossing on the flashing "DON'T WALK" signal. "Countdown" timers may be added to inform the pedestrian how much time remains to exit the street.
The clearance interval is based on the street width and pedestrian walking speed. If there is a large percentage of very young or elderly pedestrians using the crossing, the walking speed may be reduced.
Steady "DON'T WALK"
The "DON'T WALK" signal with steady illumination, means that a pedestrian should not enter or cross the street in the direction of the pedestrian signal.
Countdown Pedestrian Signals
The City of Lincoln has recently started installing countdown crosswalk signals. These signal have a countdown timer that shows pedestrians how many seconds they have to cross the street before the signal changes to "DON'T WALK".
Pedestrian Signal Design
Pedestrian signals are normally mounted at least seven feet, but less than ten feet above the sidewalk and are in the line of the pedestrians' vision. The pedestrian push-button detector is usually found on the pole under the pedestrian signal head. A sign is normally mounted above the pedestrian detector explaining its purpose, and the position of the push button will tell which crosswalk signal is activated by which push-button.
If you have any questions about pedestrian signals, please contact the City of Lincoln Public Works Department - Engineering Services at 441-7711.