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  • Alex Brideau III

    So I tried pressing one of the new beg buttons at 7th & Flower today. The red “pressed” light illuminated on the unit, but since the intersection is on a timer and not controlled by sensors or the beg buttons, about the only difference the beg button made is that when the signal changed, I heard the audible buzzing and “Walk sign is on across…” speech.

    Perhaps LADOT’s logic behind installing these units is that they want to help those of limited sight. A worthy goal indeed, but there are a couple problems with this “solution”:

    > This is one of the busiest intersections in the city. I’m not visually impaired (aside from a near-sightedness prescription, that is) but try as I might, I found it impossible to hear the audio cues from the beg buttons over the traffic and city noise at this intersection. Perhaps these devices can be very effective in quieter suburban locations, but they don’t seem to be working well here. And if you crank up the volume on these buttons, you’re likely to receive complaints from the adjacent apartments with historic, non-soundproof windows because the buttons will be too loud at night when it’s moderately quiet. Perhaps some sort of smart volume adjuster could regulate the audio to just be audible above the ambient sound levels at various times of day, but I doubt these units are capable of that functionality.

    > The signage on the beg buttons tells *all* pedestrians that they must first press the beg button to cross the street (which I have begun seeing other pedestrians do), when this is not even true. Why tell pedestrians to jump through an unnecessary hoop? Instead, that signage should be replaced with special, high-visibility signage indicating the buttons are there to assist the visually impaired.