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Street X-ing

  1. Oct 4, 2008 #1

    lisab

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    You're walking down a street, and you approach an intersection controlled by a stoplight. You need to cross the street. How many times do you push the crosswalk button?

    Do you really think that if you push it more than once, it will make the signal change quicker?

    Yet have you ever - EVER - pushed it just once?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2008 #2
    I have no idea why they are pushed at all. The ones we have here, don't make the walk light appear any faster then if you just wait. Yes, several co-workers and myself timed it.
    We think maybe they did work at one time, but foot traffic is not what it use to be, and keeping the cars moving more then likely takes priority.
     
  4. Oct 4, 2008 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yes. If I push it many times then the light control gods will know that I mean business!

    Of course it is always possible that a public, high-use device, might have dirty contacts. :tongue:
     
  5. Oct 4, 2008 #4
    I push it again and again hoping that it knows I am waiting and it works. But on average maybe 5 times (with >10 times when they aren't nice to me). I think it also matters how hard you push it.

    Statistically or psychologically there is an inverse relationship between waiting time and number of times you push the button and how hard you push it.

    P.S. I love this engineer guy!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
  6. Oct 5, 2008 #5
    I push the button once. I push elevator buttons once. Although when I'm going to a diagonal corner I'll push the button going one way before crossing 90 degrees to that then usually push the button again when I get to the other side.
     
  7. Oct 5, 2008 #6

    Moonbear

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    I never figured out why the buttons are on some intersections where the crosswalk light turns on whether you push the button or not. There are plenty of intersections, though, where the crosswalk lights never come on if you don't push the button, or you might get the light to cross in one direction, but if you push the button, it'll stop all 4 directions of traffic so you can get all the way across. They don't make the light turn faster, it just means that when the stoplight gets to a particular pattern, it turns on the crosswalk light too. This is usually most important on intersections with left turn signals, so you aren't getting run over by people turning left when you're crossing.

    So, yeah, I push the button at least 3 or 4 times. It's not that I think it's going to make it work faster, but that I want to make sure it registered my button push at all.

    Same with elevator buttons, give it a few pushes to make sure it takes. This is particularly necessary in the building I'm currently working in where the elevator buttons all seem to need repair, so the lights don't turn on to tell you it registered your button push. One elevator may or may not let you off on the second floor...it has to be in the right mood and you have to push its buttons just right. :uhh: Fortunately, that elevator is right next to a stairwell that's easy to find, so if someone misses the 2nd floor, they can get off on the third floor and just walk down one flight.

    Oh, then we have the crosswalks downtown that are motion sensors instead of buttons. :uhh: I hate those. You know how sometimes you go to wash your hands in a public restroom with those sensors on the sinks and nothing happens? I'm never sure about a motion sensor that's been exposed to the elements and covered with fingerprints (because everyone tries pushing it as a button). I don't bother waiting for the crosswalk light at those intersections, because I'm not sure it'll ever turn on with those sensors. I suppose if they do work, then the next person coming along thinks the light turns on by itself if they don't try pushing any buttons. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Oct 5, 2008 #7
    I'm so glad they don't have motion sensor walk things here. I would be forced into some crazy arm waving dance. Of course in Detroit, maybe no one would notice.
     
  9. Oct 5, 2008 #8

    Ben Niehoff

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    Moonbear, if the buttons in your elevator don't work, it's probably because people were pushing them ten times. I can't stand that stuff.

    I push the buttons once. I've never had any issues.
     
  10. Oct 5, 2008 #9

    Moonbear

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    Okay, you can try pushing the buttons in our elevators once and see if it ever stops on the floor you want. Me, I'll keep pushing the button a few times just to be sure. They don't always take the first try. If the lights worked, people wouldn't push them multiple times, because they'd know when the light came on that the button push registered. They get pushed a lot more when everyone getting on the elevator to go to that floor pushes the button because it isn't lit so they don't know it's already been pushed. These things DO just wear out from lots of people using an elevator you know. :rolleyes:

    I've heard rumors, and it's probably just a myth, but maybe some elevators do work this way, that some prioritize which floors they go to by the number of button pushes. So, if there are a lot of people waiting on a floor, it'll go to that floor faster than one with only one or two people waiting. That's the basis of why people usually push elevator buttons many times, hoping to trick the elevator into showing up on their floor faster. I suspect it's just a myth though.

    I did work in one building where there was a trick that if you held the button down and didn't let go, the elevator would work as an express elevator and not stop at any other floors (assuming nobody else had pushed a button inside the elevator...it would ignore the people waiting to get on). I worked on the top floor of that building, so it was a handy trick to know when running late. It's never worked on any other elevator I've been on though (it was an old building, and an old elevator, so designers have probably realized it's a bad idea to have this feature if you don't want people waiting all day for an elevator).

    I have been on even older elevators that have a way around the multiple button pressing problem. Once you push the button, it stays locked in place, and doesn't pop back out until you get to your floor. Only one push there.
     
  11. Oct 5, 2008 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    When I was a kid, it was considered cool to push all of the buttons before exiting an elevator.

    Dunno why....
     
  12. Oct 5, 2008 #11
    I push them 9 times in this order 1-2-3-2-1 because I read that if you do this, it is a code to change the light automatically. Despite the fact that it has never worked, I do it any way. :)

    "TUESDAY!" I lol'ed. :D
     
  13. Oct 5, 2008 #12
    I once watched an older gent so focused on pushing the crosswalk button so much that he missed his turn twice!
     
  14. Oct 6, 2008 #13

    LURCH

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    When it comes to a "public, high-use device," the contaminants on the contacts are the least of my worries! I will only push that button if there is no one else waiting to cross. If there is someone else, I will wait for them to push it. If I have to push it myself, I use a pencil or other improvised end-effector.
     
  15. Oct 6, 2008 #14

    Evo

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    I walked to the store on Saturday and used the crosswalk button. I hit it only once. Next time I drive by there I will try to notice what it does without being pushed. No one walks around here so it's never pushed.

    I think these don't turn on unless you push them.

    The elevators where I work operate fine, so only one push is necessary. If the light didn't come one, then I would push it a couple of times.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  16. Oct 6, 2008 #15

    matthyaouw

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    Always :smile:

    Light timings aren't set in stone. It'd be a bit of a pain to have to add buttons to an existing crossing if you wanted to try new signal timings.
     
  17. Oct 6, 2008 #16

    brewnog

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    I used to work for a company who designed pelican crossing controls. The algorithm is this. Each time you press the button, it starts a 1 minute timer before the green man comes on. So if you press the button again after 50 seconds, you'll be waiting another minute...
     
  18. Oct 6, 2008 #17
    Me at 20 and my father at 57. We both still do things like that.

    If i cross the intersection just up the road from me and walk as fast as possible to the next one i want to go to, then it will turn green when I arrive. But that requires a fast pace and good timing.
     
  19. Oct 6, 2008 #18

    JasonRox

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    The buttons work properly here.

    Maybe the state or city can't afford to maintain them in the current economic crisis.
     
  20. Oct 6, 2008 #19

    lisab

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    No...you miss the point. The buttons work fine. This thread is about peoples' tendancy to push buttons multiple times, when one is likely sufficient. That didn't start a few weeks ago.
     
  21. Oct 6, 2008 #20
    On wide intersections there is a button located in the median. Apparently some of the local ones work better than others. And some obviously do nothing.

    I have noticed that homeless people who are panhandling on a median will walk up and push the button every few minutes. They don't want to continue to cross the street they just want traffic to stop.

    At some intersections the buttons apparently do nothing at all. There are some intersections where I never see homeless people in the median. I have come to the conclusion that only homeless people know which intersections have buttons that actually control the lights.

    I always push twice as soon as I get to the button just in case I didn't push hard enough the first time.

    Panhandlers only push once. Do they know something?? Is there some kind of secret code? I notice that they reach around from behind the pole to push the button. :cool:
     
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