In the Bad News Good News Department, the City of Sydney Australia is finally getting automated pedestrian crossing in their major downtown intersections, because of the Covid-19 virus crisis.
If you are unfamiliar with Australian politics, the State and the City do not get along and have different agendas when it comes to cities. The State has control of the highway network and is still in the 20th century model of moving vehicles quickly and efficiently, with secondary thought to pedestrians. You would think with 90 percent of movement in the downtown being by pedestrians that they would have priority at intersections. But no. Pedestrians have long waits, and automation of crossings only during the day. Other times there are push buttons that still don’t activate crossing in a timely fashion and there’s no standardized automatically set intervals for crossing.
In this article by News 7 Sydney, Mayor Clover Moore said pedestrian buttons “would not need to be pushed for the foreseeable future”, as the state government , which has control of major arterials in the city has made the signal changes for pedestrians and cyclists.
The State has not done this because it is the Right Thing To Do, but because pedestrian push buttons are petri dishes for Covid-19 virus potential.
Hopefully the 24 hour automatic signal intervals for pedestrian crossings will remain a permanent installation.