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Thread: Observations at Lynn St. & the Custis

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    If the pedestrian light turned red (don't walk) and there was some time remaining on the right turn light for the cars, it might help. In my estimation, having both lights active for the same time period causes the biggest conflict. In many locations, if the drivers wait for a clear crosswalk, they might never make the turn. I am not excusing them for violating the crosswalk right of way, but I do understand the frustration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    No, we're not. baiskeli, I'm pretty sure you've made this mistake before. The conflict occurs because cars have the green to turn right at the same time that pedestrians/cyclists on the Custis trail have the white walking person and the blinking red.
    That's not the conflict I've been talking about this whole time. I've been discussing the walk signals and the countdown and all that.

    Finally, I have not seen a definitive argument for why blinking red means "don't walk". The language of the Code is circular (if it means don't walk, then it means don't walk), and other jurisdictions have varying definitions of the illegality of starting to cross in the blink. I believe the legislative history is silent on the issue. It's not a settled issue.
    To be clear, I"m talking about a don't walk with a countdown, not just a blinking "don't walk" sign. I think a don't walk sign with a countdown means don't start to cross, but keep going if you already have, just as any don't walk sign means don't start to cross, but keep going if you already have. It seems simple to me, but perhaps the code complicates it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Finally, I have not seen a definitive argument for why blinking red means "don't walk". The language of the Code is circular (if it means don't walk, then it means don't walk), and other jurisdictions have varying definitions of the illegality of starting to cross in the blink. I believe the legislative history is silent on the issue. It's not a settled issue.
    Please, present an argument for why a red hand (blinking or otherwise) means "walk". Make sure that you account for the instruction manual printed on the side of the signal. Until you present that argument, it's obstinacy, not unsettled.
    Last edited by mstone; 09-16-2013 at 04:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hancockbs View Post
    If the pedestrian light turned red (don't walk) and there was some time remaining on the right turn light for the cars, it might help. In my estimation, having both lights active for the same time period causes the biggest conflict. In many locations, if the drivers wait for a clear crosswalk, they might never make the turn. I am not excusing them for violating the crosswalk right of way, but I do understand the frustration.
    They tried this, but without a sign. It was last year, right after the ped signal was completely broken. Without any signage, and in the context of just having a broken signal, tons of cyclists just ignored the steady red. (I did the first time I came upon it, as I just thought it was broken). It also sucks for cyclists coming the other way, due to the timing of the light of Fort Myer. I think it guaranteed that cyclists would have to stop at at least one, possibly both Ft Myer and Lynn

    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    That's not the conflict I've been talking about this whole time. I've been discussing the walk signals and the countdown and all that.
    This conflict does not happen at Lee & Lynn. See the topic thread. I'm pretty sure everyone else here is talking about Lee & Lynn, and the conflict of peds with the walk signal, and cars with a green turning right.

    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    To be clear, I"m talking about a don't walk with a countdown, not just a blinking "don't walk" sign. I think a don't walk sign with a countdown means don't start to cross, but keep going if you already have, just as any don't walk sign means don't start to cross, but keep going if you already have. It seems simple to me, but perhaps the code complicates it.
    Alas, what you think and what I think aren't determinative. It's what the Code is interpreted to mean in court.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    This conflict does not happen at Lee & Lynn. See the topic thread. I'm pretty sure everyone else here is talking about Lee & Lynn, and the conflict of peds with the walk signal, and cars with a green turning right.
    I've been talking about the countdown and don't walk signal and all that.

    Alas, what you think and what I think aren't determinative. It's what the Code is interpreted to mean in court.
    Yes, alas. At least erring on the side of not proceeding means I will probably never have to confront it in a court of law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Please, present an argument for why a red hand (blinking or otherwise) means "walk". Make sure that you account for the instruction manual printed on the side of the signal. Until you present that argument, it's obstinacy, not unsettled.
    This isn't a great argument, but at the intersections further up the hill, there are both red flashing don't walk signals and green/red bike signals. Yesterday I noticed that the bike green changes to yellow the same moment that the car light changes to yellow, which is also the same time the flashing don't walk becomes steady. Why shouldn't I reasonably conclude that where there isn't a separate bike signal, that a flashing don't walk means that bikes can proceed until the solid "don't walk" that comes at the same time as yellow for the cars?

    Like I said, not a great argument, but it passes the laugh test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Please, present an argument for why a red hand (blinking or otherwise) means "walk". Make sure that you account for the instruction manual printed on the side of the signal. Until you present that argument, it's obstinacy, not unsettled.
    I never said it means "walk". There are signs that mean other than "walk" and "don't walk". The VA Code could have been written to preclude such possibilities, but wasn't. There also is no instruction manual printed on the side of that signal.

    There's at least one state where blinking red means you can enter the crosswalk, but it's strictly illegal to be in the crosswalk on steady red. So if you start on blinking red and don't make it across by steady red, you are violating the law. That's not "don't walk". That's not even "don't start".

    In the places where I have seen instructional signs, they indicate that walking person = "walk"; blinking hand = "don't start"; steady hand = "don't walk". Even in that case, blinking hand is different than "don't walk". I don't know the authority for those signs, but as we all know, it's perfectly possible for municipalities to put up signs that have no legal authority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcb203 View Post
    This isn't a great argument, but at the intersections further up the hill, there are both red flashing don't walk signals and green/red bike signals. Yesterday I noticed that the bike green changes to yellow the same moment that the car light changes to yellow, which is also the same time the flashing don't walk becomes steady. Why shouldn't I reasonably conclude that where there isn't a separate bike signal, that a flashing don't walk means that bikes can proceed until the solid "don't walk" that comes at the same time as yellow for the cars?
    The answer is because the timing for bikes and pedestrians is different. Bikes can cross alot faster, and therefore start to cross much later, than a pedestrian. Crossing on a red flashing "don't walk" sign (in the absence of a bike signal allowing him/her to cross) may be safe for a cyclist at a normal intersection, but it's not necessarily legal, since we are legally pedestrians when crossing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    Are you saying that some cars routinely run the red light? Obviously that's their fault.
    And here I was thinking you were talking about cars running red lights and encountering conflict with peds/cyclists legally in the crosswalk. Alas.

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    In the places where I have seen instructional signs, they indicate that walking person = "walk"; blinking hand = "don't start"; steady hand = "don't walk". Even in that case, blinking hand is different than "don't walk".
    Weird, since don't start and don't walk really mean the same thing. If you're already in the intersection, you need to keep walking no matter what. You're committed. The blinking and steady hand and countdown and all that are just different ways of saying "hurry the f*** up, dumbass, the light's about to change, but if you aren't crossing yet, just wait for the next light." Which is what I think they signs should say.

    I remember seeing a film, maybe on SNL, where everyone crossing an intersection suddenly stops when the don't walk starts flashing, just standing there in the middle of the street. Then the sign starts telling them to dance and stuff.

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