Author Topic: The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings  (Read 1943 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings
« on: February 24, 2014, 05:03:02 PM »

This is an (possibly another) opportunity for some/all of you pipe up and point out how stupid I am or, like me, say 'Aha!', and nod sagely with enlightenment :)

In the My Favourite Swindon Cycle Routes Topic I make a couple of comments about 'silent' Puffin crossings, most notably:

[quote author-Geoff Reid]"Another noticeable difference is that there is no audible warning/alert to tell crossing users that it is safe to cross.  Tig and I have puzzled over and discussed this several times recently because we thought this wasn't good news for the partially sighted but today I learned that the yellow bar on the crossing control box vibrates when it is safe to cross giving an unambiguous tactile signal to anyone holding it."[/quote]

I was quite wrong about this but, with Tig's assistance today, I am now fully edumacated regarding what does and does not provide a tactile signal for the partially sighted at some pedestrian crossings.  There is nothing which vibrates but there is a small conical knob with a milled edge which rotates when the green man is illuminated.

I should stress that the knob rotates when the green man is illuminated to indicate that the pedestrian has the right of way but is not necessarily indicating that it is safe to cross.

Here's a picture wot I nicked earlier:



And here's the address of a very good blog which discusses the secret button at greater length: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-22706881

Excerpt:

Quote
Few seem to know about this useful little device, which is surprising because in many areas of the country it can be found on every street... and it saves lives.
What is it?

It's a small, unassuming plastic or metal cone which you can find on the underside of pedestrian crossings.

When the green man lights up to show traffic should stop and it's your turn to cross, the cone starts spinning. It points downwards and has tactile ridges on it.
What's it doing there?

It's there for those people who can't see the lights, like visually impaired or blind people. When they feel it spinning they know they have the right of way.

When crossing a road you can stand near the control box with your hand on the cone and independently know you can cross when it spins, without having to get help from a passer-by, if there is one.
But I thought crossings beeped for blind people?

Not all crossings make sounds. For instance, if two crossings are close to each other neither will beep in case pedestrians are misled into walking out into oncoming traffic on the wrong road. And, in any case, a tactile indicator helps deaf-blind people too. They can't hear audible signals. The cones provide the same information as the beeping signal but in tactile form. Some crossings both beep and rotate.



Offline Cllr. Jim Robbins

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Re: The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 05:12:35 PM »
I found out about it a few months ago! It's bizarre that so few people are aware of it, when crossing road is something we do so often...

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 07:03:33 PM »
I was aware of the rotating thingy, but have often wondered how the blind or visually impaired cope with all of the temporary road works.

Permanent crossings have tactile paving and features like the audible signal or rotating knob, but temporary road works must be a nightmare. The footpaths are often littered with traffic cones, temporary signs and knocked down barriers.

How does someone negotiate all of that without a guide dog, especially when the layouts are regularly changed as work proceeds?

Offline Midlander

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Re: The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 11:31:11 PM »
Not only that the temporary crossings seem to have a habit of breaking down on a regular basis!

Offline Muggins

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Re: The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 08:06:26 AM »
I was aware of the rotating thingy, but have often wondered how the blind or visually impaired cope with all of the temporary road works.

Permanent crossings have tactile paving and features like the audible signal or rotating knob, but temporary road works must be a nightmare. The footpaths are often littered with traffic cones, temporary signs and knocked down barriers.

How does someone negotiate all of that without a guide dog, especially when the layouts are regularly changed as work proceeds?


The answer to that spunky is, probably they don't use it or go out until things are back to normal.  Or maybe don't go that way anyway.

As anyone considered that so few people know about the button, because only those who need it are in on the secret, because the blessums would be soon vandalising them if they knew?  Out of sight out of mind?
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The Secret Button At Pedestrian Crossings
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2014, 06:04:26 AM »

As anyone considered that so few people know about the button, because only those who need it are in on the secret, because the blessums would be soon vandalising them if they knew?  Out of sight out of mind?

Yes, but I only briefly considered that point because the rest of the plastic unit is far easier to get at and damage than the small conical metal button.  In fact the button is probably the most difficult part of the unit to damage.

Isn't it more likely that those user groups whom the button is intended to assist were informed, but the general population weren't told, (via the highway coded for example), because it's not something they (we) really needed to know in order to be able to use the crossings?

Also likely that people who read TS are more inquisitive than average folk and like to know the how and why of things  ))))