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Anyone Else Notice New Talking Crosswalk Signals?

by Prince Of Petworth January 9, 2013 at 11:30 am 28 Comments

Thanks to a reader for sending in video of the one above at 7th and Pennsylvania Ave, NW. Another reader finds one in Woodley Park and wishes they would turn the volume down:

I live near Woodley Road and Connecticut Ave and have noticed that all of the crosswalk signals now have a speaker that says when the signal has changed, etc. Is there any way the volume on these things can be turned down at certain hours? I seriously hear these 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK. Don’t want to sound insensitive but I doubt there are any blind people out in the middle of the night who need to be told when it is safe to cross. I will write/call/do whatever! Can’t go to sleep and wake to the automated voice any more!! There is no need for the volume to be so high at all hours of the day. I’m used to the traffic and all of the other noises on Connecticut Ave but I don’t want to be able to hear the signal when I’m trying to sleep!! Please help!!

  • 17thSter

    If no one answers this question the poster should submit the question to Dr. Gridlock of the Washington Post http://live.washingtonpost.com/gridlock-0114.html

    He has a traffic and metro related “chat” every Monday. You can submit the questions in advance. He should know a contact.

  • Anonymous

    I was seriously wondering about this, the ones at the Yes Market on Georgia Ave are loud as heck too!

  • jol

    That would absolutely drive me bananas. Sorry to hear about it. I would never encourage vandalism …

  • Rossy

    I have been suffering from this for years, the buses in 14th st nw going to Colorado sound very loud early in the morning.

  • Doesn’t seem that hard to invent some kind of silent transmission system that would send a signal to a small receiver that blind people could carry. Or wire a button on crossing signal poles that would vibrate. Hearing this all day and night would drive anyone crazy.

    • Well, seems a lot harder than, you know, a speaker.

  • it’s pretty fair to ask that the sound be turned down. like car stereos that adjust decibel levels based on surrounding noise levels.

    • i see the comment i was replying to was removed. carry on.

  • Tom

    Don’t they have half-domes (like in the Get Smart tv show) where they can direct the sound downwards and directly to people standing underneath the post? …[a minute later]… They do! Check out this directional speaker, it would work wonders on the street. Oh the extent of technology nowadays!

  • I know this device saves lives, but it’s annoying. do ya mind?

    White noise generator. Get one.

    • Anon

      so true. I don’t understand the issue.

    • _

      Just because something has a purpose doesn’t mean it can’t also be implemented poorly. I could protect myself when using crosswalks by carrying a stage lamp and blinding oncoming cars but I choose not to.

    • Anonymous

      People who live I’m the city and don’t use earplugs to sleep are just morons.

    • Seriously. I guess helping blind people is an annoyance to some. Shameful.

      • Anonymous


        • reality


  • Call 311. They should be able to control it from a centralized location. On a similar topic:

    Buses stopping in front of my building used to very loudly announce the route and destination, often late at night. I made an online 311 complaint and received an email literally the next day from someone at DDOT. The bus announcements are also controlled from a central location, this person explained. Now the only thing I hear at night is loud youngsters walking around. Not sure 311 can do anything about that…

  • Anonymous

    These things are seriously too loud. Are there that many blind people that are also practically deaf?

  • Anony

    Seriously? For one, you live in a city. But also a city that is doing its best for those with disabilities. And two, there are so many more important things to worry about.

    Try wearing a blindfold one day in DC, then go to a country that doesn’t have laws to protect the disabled and try it and see what happens…

    • Anonymous

      Even if I were blind I wouldn’t want one of those things screaming into my ear. They’re deafening.

  • Tom

    I don’t see what’s wrong with the directional speaker idea. Some people may see it as insensitive to even ask if something can be done about lowering the volume, because it would come at the expense of the visually impaired. But a directional speaker solves both issues.

  • oldgrouch

    Can’t DC do ANYTHING right? I’d be suicidal if it were near my house.

    • reality

      do us a favor and move near one, then.

  • G8Bus

    Last week, the G8 bus screamed the recorded message “Pedestrian, this bus is turning! Pedestrian, this bus is turning!” each time the bus turned. Unfortunately, it screamed it INSIDE the bus. WTF?! I hope this doesn’t become a regular part of the bus ride.

  • Anonymous

    We had the same problem. Everyone in our apartment building e-mailed our council member and it was silenced within days. Good luck!

    • Anonymous

      I guess that works in some wards, and I was going to suggest that the OP e-mail Ward 3 councilperson Mary Cheh. But from my experience, she simply doesn’t respond to constituent issues. At all. Unless you’re connected or a big campaign donor, I guess.

  • reality

    My response: stop complaining. I actually have a blind co-worker and she relies heavily on these talking signs. She’s even asked me to call 311 on one near the office because, over the traffic noise, she can’t tell when it’s time to cross because the sound is too low.

    • is the reasoning that because one near your office is too quiet durring loud traffic that all must be too quiet at all times?


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