We encountered a new-to-us type of crosswalk today* and thought it was interesting because of the way it signals to drivers rather than pedestrians.
The crosswalk is near one of the new bus shelters on New Scotland Ave in Albany, just up the street from Albany Med. (It's across from the state Department of Health lab building.) The signal button doesn't trigger a traffic light or one of those walk/don't walk signs. Instead, it activates blinking lights to notify drivers that a pedestrian's crossing. (There's a photo of the crosswalk after the jump.)
And, in our experience today, it worked! Oncoming traffic actually stopped. That might not sound like much, but we'd guess the chances of traffic stopping at a similar crosswalk without the lights -- even when there's a(n often battered) sign in the middle of the street telling drivers to stop for pedestrians -- are, at best, 50-50.**
So, an early +1 for these signals. And if they don't work, maybe a giant, blinking "Stop for pedestrians -- no, really, actually stop" sign should be next.
* What, you don't get excited about that?
** Our technique for those crosswalks: Wait for a gap in traffic, then stride purposefully into the crosswalk while giving the I-see-you stare, with a hand up, to oncoming traffic. You gotta act like you own that crosswalk.
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