Push It Real Good

Standing there on the corner of Broadway and University Drive by Albertsons Stadium, we waited what felt like an eternity for the push-to-walk button to heed our mighty command. Not to brag, but we're pretty sure we pushed it real good; like, Salt-N-Pepa-good.

Apparently the stoplight didn't share our love for the '90s R&B girl group. After waiting the standard amount of time it takes traffic to cross an intersection, the walk signal lit up and we, well, we crossed the street (sigh).

R.A. Valenzuela // Canva
R.A. Valenzuela // Canva
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But were we all that surprised? Not really. Maybe two or three times over the last decade were we able to pull a Moses and part the oncoming traffic with the push of the pedestrian button.

After years of being denied permission to cross the street prematurely, we had to know if the push-to-walk button actually helped pedestrians.

It Was All a Lie

According to the think tanks at Bloomberg, the pedestrian push-to-walk buttons in Boise and around the country are basically a crock.

Pushing the button doesn't cause a “WALK” signal to appear immediately. The system still needs to complete its cycle and allow cars enough time to get through the intersection. That could take anywhere from five seconds to two minutes, depending on the signal settings and the traffic.

The button's super powers were all a lie. "Five seconds to two minutes," we've never experienced the glory of a five-second push-to-walk button turn-around. Never! Was the government playing on our passions for micro-power trips? Not entirely. Pedestrians buttons do work, just not how we thought they did.

Pushing the pedestrian button is beneficial when no vehicles are coming, as it registers to the traffic light that a pedestrian wants to cross, so it will change or hold a green light for the needed amount of time to walk across. Often the signal is “resting” on a green light for the major movement, and pushing the button makes sure it doesn’t change while a pedestrian is crossing.

-Scott Shea, CRS Engineers

Shea further explains that pushing the button a few times can extend the amount of time a pedestrian has to cross the street. Okay, that's cool. It's also the only redeeming feature about the push-to-walk button.

R.A. Valenzuela // Canva
R.A. Valenzuela // Canva
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Moving On

It's been 24 hours, a pint of ice cream, and two tumblers of bourbon since we learned the heartbreaking truth about the ineffectual push-to-walk button. Apart from the slight hangover we woke up with, we've moved on.

What are we really going to do about it anyway? Mean-mug the stoplight when we finally get to the other side? Flip it the bird? We're low-key embarrassed to share that neither of those things brought us closer to closure or got across the street faster for that matter.

On second thought, that might have been the hangover.

After all the fun we had carrying on about the push-to-walk nonsense, we thought it would be a blast to cavil about the most irritating intersections in Boise! 

Keep scrolling for pics! 

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