I’m not sure why a generation or two ago municipalities replaced the old Walk / Don’t Walk crossing signals with lights using pictograms instead. Perhaps someone thought they were more easily understood, or perhaps it was part of general trend towards using international symbols, like the little fuel pump by your gas gauge instead of the word “Fuel”. Either way, Walk / Don’t Walk was considered obsolete. Now, it seems as though the pictograms just weren’t that easily understood, as we apparently have to explain to people that a red hand means “don’t walk” and that a white pictogram of a person walking means “walk”.
The notion of a countdown is also apparently considered très difficile for the average pedestrian, or at least it’s considered so by the people who buy crossing signals for cities and counties, since we also have to be told that the numerals represent how many seconds we have left to cross the street. The company that makes these signs and the municipalities that buy them are trying to clarify things, I’m sure, but am I the only person who finds the instructions at the bottom of the sign, “To Cross Push Button” with an arrow pointing to the side, a little confusing? It took me a second to realize that the arrow indicates which street crossing that signal controls, not where the button is. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If you think 3D is a plot to get you to buy yet another new TV set, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS