Many Malfunctioning Cross Walks

@Vplus tweets us a number of messed up cross walks. He writes:

“Weeks since my first video documenting this, the crosswalk at 4th and K NE in DC still time travel downward, throwing off pedestrians. Watch the countdown. This also happens at 6th & K NE (video shortly) and probably elsewhere.”

22 Comment

  • Does this happen every cycle?

    I notice that around 7:00, sometimes the lights on my ride home do this. I assume they’re going from rush hour to non-rush hour timing. But it’s only one light cycle. If it’s happening every time then something is obviously wrong.

  • ledroittiger

    I see this around DC all the time, but I thought I was going crazy.

  • Have you reported it to 311 or using the 311 App? You can upload videos.

  • I think they are sensor based at some intersections? So if there’s a car waiting to cross, and none coming from the other direction, it switches the light cycle

  • This sometimes happens at the lights at Q and Connecticut leaving Dupont Circle Metro Station (North side). I noticed it just yesterday.

    Yet it never happens at S and 18th, where you have to sit and wait 65 seconds for it to count down.

  • The first one was a “slight” deviation from the other crosswalk signals in the country…of course I grew up in the 90s, when a crosswalk signal either didn’t exist or was either “white walk man” or “red stop hand” only with NO countdown signals!

  • I’ve noticed this as well and thought I wasn’t paying close enough attention!!

  • Has anyone else noticed that crosswalks across DC have stopped displaying walk times? Now, there is only a countdown that begins with the flashing red hand.

    • I’ve noticed this too. The steady walk signal doesn’t display walk times but as soon as it turns to a flashing red hand it starts to count down.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Displaying the countdown only during the flashing “Don’t Walk” signal is actually a national standard for countdown signals. Countdown signals that display the countdown during the walk signal actually do not comply with the standard.

  • Why do you assume they are malfunctioning? I also thought this was a triggered sensor thing. And it doesn’t seem dangerous. It’s not as if the signal is telling you it’s okay to cross when it’s not.

  • This happens all the time at the 5th and H NW intersection. Drives me nuts when I’m hurrying to get to the cross walk and it suddenly drops down to a couple of seconds and I have to stop.

  • It might be counterbalanced by what occasionally happens at 6th & M NE, a couple blocks away, at which the signal for crossing 6th sometimes hangs, frozen at 4, 6, or 9 seconds (it seems to vary). Admittedly very convenient but a little disconcerting.

  • It’s not a glitch. The signs are timed to take into consideration rush hour and non-rush traffic. There are sensors in the road that explains why the countdown will drop from 20 to 10 and start counting down

    • It is most certainly a glitch, system wide. And a safety hazard to boot.

      • I’m with anom on this. The signal equipment has decided the green light in that direction should be cut short, presumably because the cross street has accumulated too many waiting cars. It can’t cut the green light short without also cutting the crosswalk timer short. Before there were timers, no one would have known they were getting less time than originally offered to cross the street.

        While I’m just guessing, I assume that the counter jumps to the number of seconds traffic engineers have determined a pedestrian would need to finish crossing that road. For a large road, it might be 10. For a smaller one, 4 (plus the duration of the yellow traffic light).

  • Yes! This happens around Chinatown too! You think you’re crazy when the timer is at 30 seconds and then goes down to 3 seconds.

  • brookland_rez

    This happens at 18th and Monroe NE. I actually thought it was supposed to do that, like normally it would be 45 seconds but traffic is so light that the sensors adjust the light on the fly or something.

  • Who should we contact to report this?

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