Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrians have always had it rough in New Jersey.  Where I grew up in northern NJ, pedestrian signals were more the exception than the norm.  Many intersections had no pedestrian signal heads, but came equipped with crosswalk buttons instructing you to push the button and WAIT FOR GREEN LIGHT.  I assume this was essentially an extension of vehicular actualization, such that pushing the button sent the same notification to the controller as the car detector in the street would, thus hastening the change of the light to green.  This seems pretty useless to me, especially if drivers who have the green light won’t yield to you in the crosswalk anyway.

Massachusetts, on the other hand, implemented a more sophisticated solution for pedestrians – a red-amber phase of the vehicular signals to allow time for pedestrians to cross. The problem with that approach was the fact that most drivers from out of state didn’t know the meaning of the red-amber indication.

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.

This photo, 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.