Pedestrians have always been treated like second class citizens, in my opinion. Where I grew up in northern NJ, it seemed to me that pedestrian signals were more the exception than the norm. Still, a lot of traffic lights came equipped with crosswalk buttons instructing you to press the button and WAIT FOR GREEN LIGHT. Did the button send a notification and cause the controller to hasten the change of the light, or was it a placebo? I’m just not sure. What’s the difference if drivers won’t yield to you in the crosswalk anyway?
Above is a late ’60s view from The Green in Morristown, with what appear to be Crouse-Hinds neon pedestrian signals (a rare find in the Garden State). It was probably around this time that Jean Shepherd did a bit about Morristown on his WOR-AM radio show that I have on CD.
The photo to the right, taken in the 1970s in New Brunswick, shows an illuminated square WAIT lens. These signals with overhead 12″ arrows were installed in New Brunswick probably in the late ’50s or early ’60s. These ped signals were later replaced by fiber-optic DONT WALK units that I remember from my days as a Rutgers student in the ’80s.