crosswalks and walk signals

Anonymous's picture

i am yet to understand why the traffic signals tell pedestrians to cross the cross walk at the same time that it gives a green light for cars to make turns.  wouldnt it make more sense to give all pedestrians the opportunity to cross the street, then "let the cars go"?  id like to see numbers on how many pedestrians are hit by cars as a result of this illogical system.  thoughts?

Lucy in the sky's picture


Where is this happening? Are you referring to left hand turn signals?

Zaquex's picture

Free for All

Pedestrians have the right-of-way all of the time, so cars are required to stop before making a right turn onto another street. However, with taxi drivers this is a different case altogether (because they are apparently immune from any laws).

We could make the streets a little safer by have cross walks that not only operate in a square formation, but as with crosswalks to diagonal blocks. The major problem with this is traffic congestion--not to mention, large crowds of people flooding the corners of blocks.

It's fine the way it is. If anything at all, add more walk signals for intersections that lack this.

Galomorro's picture

I agree with robbie

I hate it when I am trying to cross a busy street like Van Ness with cars turning right at the pedestrians at the same time they are attempting to cross the street. This is dangerous. I have a car phobia of sorts and have often gone out of my way so they won't be turning towards me at the same time I am walking across the street. Especially cab drivers. Yes, give the pedestrians the opportunity to cross safely before the cars can go. Walkers may have the right of way but that doesn't necessarily mean drivers are going to wait for them properly. Drivers are frequently in a big hurry, driving too fast, and seem to come right at the walker far too closely. On some streets, like O'Shaughnessy and Lincoln Blvd. in the Presidio, there are no lights and drivers go far too fast, not paying much attention to someone who might be trying to cross. These streets curve around so are especially dangerous for pedestrians.

Seward's picture

at least it's better here

at least it's better here than it is in india!

hsparks's picture

residential speedways

Many motorists in mixed use residential/commerical neighborhoods like the Inner Sunset, use residential streets as speed ways-- including large trucks. As much as I hate speed bumps, 8th Avenue would greatly benefit from them + a slow sign the corner of 8th and Lincoln, and a stop sign for cars on Irving at the corner of 8th.

BretCecil's picture

Pedestrians have right-of-way 'all the time'

Please give some attention to common sense when it comes to rights-of-way. They mean nothing when the person possessing it is lying, flattened in the street. A right-of-way only creates an order in which multiple users operate in a shared situation. We must all take responsibility for ourselves. For instance, because you're a pedestrian stepping into the street when the 'walk' sign displays 'dont walk' or running into the street on a 'dont walk' because you can get into the crosswalk before the light turns red does NOT provide you any type of 'right-of-way'. It doesn't. Again, if you're injured or even just discommoded for a moment, is it really worth it? Wait for the next 'walk' sign and allow the other users of the system to enjoy their turn...

ExcelsiorMom's picture

Crosswalk first

One possible solution is that at some particularly busy intersections, the lights can be programmed so that the crosswalk turns green a few seconds before the streetlight turns green.  This allows the pedestrians to cross or at least get a good head start before the cars can go.  I've seen this approach in other  cities.  Boston is one example.

bobbyh's picture

A few seconds

I like the solution of timing the pedestrian cross lights to give the walkers a head start on the cars.  I think this essentially will solve the issue, although as one poster jokingly posted, I don't think this is that bad of a problem.  Sure, crossing the street is not as safe as sitting on your couch, but if you compare us to other countries (not just India, but virtually anywhere in Europe or Asia), we have a VERY orderly system.  Nevertheless, a few second delay for cars to get the green light is a simple, easy solution to make residents feel more safe crossing what I know can be a very hectic streets here in San Francisco.

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