'Beg Buttons' Quietly Appearing at East Bay Crosswalks

Critics of pedestrian crosswalk buttons say the devices, meant to help improve bus speeds, give pedestrians the 'absolute lowest priority' on city streets.

1 minute read

December 9, 2021, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Beg Button

Alison Grippo / Shutterstock

Pedestrian advocates are unhappy with AC Transit's decision to install more crosswalk push buttons in East Bay cities, reports Roger Rudick.

Also known as 'beg buttons,' the devices let pedestrians push a button when they come to an intersection, signaling their need to cross, but critics argue that the buttons "give pedestrians the absolute lowest priority, sometimes forcing them to wait through entire signal cycles before they can cross legally." The agency did not conduct any public outreach regarding the buttons, writes Rudick, which they see as simple 'signal improvements' to improve traffic flow for buses.

But that doesn’t mean pedestrians should be given short shrift by making them push a button and wait through an entire cycle of the light before they are forced to dash across every intersection whether or not a bus is approaching.

According to Rudick and Streetsblog, "this is exactly the kind of implementation that flies in the face of equity," prioritizing people in cars over pedestrians and cyclists. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 in Streetsblog San Francisco

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