30 April 2010

that's how they get you

many of the crosswalks in Chicago have timers, conveniently letting you know how much time you have until the yellow light.

only it's not so convenient, as the countdown isn't, in fact, expressed in seconds. It's insidious, somewhere around 7-8 tenths of a second.

i know this, but can't get used to it. it's so ingrained for me to think of that "14" to mean 14 seconds.

it does not.

who do they hire to make these decisions? no one walking to work, i'll assume.


JustJoeP said...

is it a processor over-clocking issue maybe?

Perhaps there's intelligent rodents, who have reprogrammed the PLCs at intersection controllers, who are trying to "speed up" the rat race =)

In Terre Haute, 25 years ago, ALL the lights were timed, on the east west streets, in synchronous, so that a driver could see the cross walk timers and gauge the approach speed to make all green lights (if there was no one waiting at the light). I used to find it quite convenient when driving home from my work-study job at midnight or 2am.

The "fail" photo is awesome. Perhaps there's a trans-dimensional portal, embedded into the bordering walls, accessible to pedestrians?

Swayframe said...

In LA, many of the crosswalks have timers also. I think they actually are in seconds increments. As a driver, you get used to watching them to see when your green is going to go to yellow and thus adjust your speed up or down as you approach that intersection.

However, SOME countdowns get to zero and then switch to the yellow hand for a several seconds. It can throw a driver off, making one slow down when one has plenty of time to clear the intersection on a green light.