Here in the city of Sacramento, most signalized intersections have beg buttons, the button you press to get the pedestrian crossing. Some of these are on auto-recall, which is what it is called when the pedestrian crossing (the white walker symbol) comes on every cycle. Most of them are not; the pedestrian crossing will never change unless you press the button. A few of them won’t ever change because the beg button is broken. You would think that the city would label the buttons with their function: is it required, is it not required, does it only affect the disability audible signal? Who knows. The city can’t be bothered to tell people walking how it works.

This is a huge frustration for walkers ALL the time, but now it is more, it is a public health hazard. Is there corona virus on that button? Probably yes. Is the city cleaning the buttons? Certainly no. So the city is allowing and encouraging a public health hazard by requiring walkers to use the buttons in order to cross the street. This must stop now! The city must set all pedestrian crossings to auto-recall, at least until the end of the pandemic, and hopefully forever.

I have been going on two long walks a day, or sometimes a bike ride, since self-isolating (no, I’m not sick). The only thing I have to touch in the outside world, other than my door knob when exiting and my door knob when returning, is beg buttons. Of course I don’t touch them. I cross when it is safe; I don’t waste my time waiting to see if this is one of those required, or simply decorative buttons. Because I won’t touch the button, I have to assume that every signalized intersection is broken, not accessible to pedestrians, and I therefore have a right to cross during gaps in traffic, no matter what the pedestrian signal says.

Fix this, city. Now.

Corona virus? Your guess.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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walkability

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