How do pedestrian signals work?
The pedestrian signal provides time for the pedestrians to enter the street on the steady walk signal or walking person symbol and to finish crossing the street on the flashing don't walk or upraised hand signal. The signal is normally activated by a push button, which causes the traffic signal controller to operate a pre-programmed timed sequence of walk and flashing don't walk indications.

Pedestrian signals consist of walk and don't walk signals or the international symbols displaying a person walking for the walk indication, and a hand for the don't walk indication. The walk indication is displayed in white, and the don't walk indication is displayed in Portland orange.

The pedestrian signal sequence begins when the walk indication is illuminated, and this sequence is typically 4-7 seconds long. This sequence should be long enough for a pedestrian to leave the curb and begin crossing the street before the clearance interval begins.

The pedestrian clearance interval consists of the flashing don't walk indication. During this interval the pedestrian is expected to complete their crossing of the street. The pedestrian should not, however, begin crossing the street on the flashing don't walk indication. The pedestrian clearance interval is typically calculated by dividing the street width by an assumed walking speed of four feet per second, unless a special study indicates that a longer time interval is needed for all pedestrian to safely cross the street, i.e. a slower walking speed of 3.5 feet per second is often used for elderly pedestrians. The actual distance used to calculate the clearance interval is usually the distance from the curb on the near side of the street to the center of the last traffic lane on the far side of the street.

The don't walk indication, steadily illuminated, means that a pedestrian is not to enter the street in the direction of the pedestrian signal.

WARNING: While pedestrians have the right of way at both marked and unmarked crosswalks, both pedestrians and motorists should be very alert when pedestrians are present at a pedestrian signal, since right turn on red movements are allowed unless otherwise prohibited.

Show All Answers

1. Why do I have to wait so long for a green light on a side street?
2. How do I report a problem with a traffic signal, lane markings, or traffic signs?
3. What should a driver do when approaching an intersection in which the traffic signal is not working?
4. How is the placement of traffic signals determined?
5. What is a Traffic Signal Warrant?
6. What are the Traffic Signal Warrants?
7. What is the justification for a left turn arrow?
8. How do pedestrian signals work?
9. Is it really necessary for me to push a button to activate the pedestrian signal, or can I just wait for the light to change?
10. Why does it always say "don't walk" before I've completed crossing the street?
11. Can I count on a safe crossing if I carefully follow the pedestrian signals?
12. What are the pedestrian rights and responsibilities when walking along or crossing a street?
13. When is a crosswalk unsafe?
14. Do marked crosswalks provide better pedestrian safety than unmarked crosswalks?
15. Why are the words "walk" and "don't walk" being replaced by symbols?
16. What is the roadside clear zone?
17. Why can't we use speed bumps on our block?
18. Are traffic control devices on private property required to meet State standards?
19. What is Florida law in regard to school speed zones and school buses?