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pedestrian crossing at the Queens Avenue and Wellington Street intersection

Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrian Signal Basics

Walking Person Pedestrian Walk Signal

The Walking Person indication is normally seven seconds long and tells pedestrians that they may start crossing the intersection. The Walking Person may not stay on during your entire crossing. At some locations where there are many pedestrians crossing, a longer Walking Person interval may be used.

Flashing Hand & Steady Hand (Don't Walk)Pedestrian Don't Walk Signal

The pedestrian clearance interval consists of a Flashing Hand signal. Pedestrians should complete their crossing, however, they must not begin crossing on the Flashing Hand signal. The clearance interval is based on the street width and a typical pedestrian walking speed of 1.0 to 1.2 metres per second. Most pedestrian crossings are based on a pedestrian walking speed of 1.0 metres per second.

The Steady Hand signal means that a pedestrian MUST NOT enter or cross the street.


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  • How do pedestrian signals work?



    A pedestrian signal allows a safer way for pedestrians to cross the street at signalized intersections. The above image is a sample of the pedestrian signal sign located at each signalized crossing. The sign explains when to enter the intersection and when not to start crossing.

    At intersections where pushbuttons are provided, pedestrians must push the button and wait for the 'Walking Person' to appear. The traffic signal is programmed to respond to pedestrian demand and allow for a safe crossing of the intersection. Do NOT begin to cross if the 'Flashing Hand' or 'Steady Hand' signal is on.

    When no pedestrian pushbuttons are available, the pedestrian sequence is pre-programmed and will appear at the beginning of green for each direction. Wait for the 'Walking Person' light to appear and begin your crossing.

    If pedestrian signals are not installed pedestrians must follow the green, yellow and red vehicle signals to complete their crossings. In cases where there is a pedestrian signal, pedestrians are still required to push the pedestrian button and wait for a fresh green light to cross. Pushing the pedestrian button will extend the green signal to allow for a pedestrian to safely cross the intersection.

  • Why doesn’t the light change as soon as I push the button?

    ​Just like vehicles, pedestrians must wait for their turn. Depending on the number of different sequences (e.g., advance green vehicle phases) at the intersection and at what point in the cycle the signal is in, the time for the 'walking person' light to appear will vary by location and traffic conditions. During busy periods this time may be longer than in off-peak times. Please be patient and wait for the 'walking person' light.

  • Who do I call if the pedestrian signal or push button doesn’t work?

    To report a pedestrian signal outages and push button malfunction please call 519-661-2641 and press 2 when prompted. This will connect you directly to the City’s traffic signal maintenance contractor.

  • Why do some pushbuttons make a sound?

    audible pedestian pushbutton

    New traffic signals and reconstructed traffic signals include audible pedestrian signals (APS) similar to the image above. APS equipment assists the visually impaired to locate the crosswalk and instructs them using sound and vibration when the walk signal is on so that they can begin crossing.

    Three unique sounds are emitted from the APS. The Canadian Walk Melody indicates the 'walk' signal is on for the east-west crossing. The Cuckoo Walk Tone indicates the 'walk' signal is on for the north-south crossing and the Locator Tone assists pedestrians in finding the pushbutton.

  • What are those raised metal plates at some intersections?

    ​The new and recently reconstructed signalized intersections have tactile plates installed in the concrete in order to notify the visually impaired that they are entering the road.

    Pedestrian crossing tactile plates

  • Why does the white 'walking person' indication turn off before I finish crossing the street?

    There is a common misunderstanding that the 'waling person' indication should be displayed for the entire time required to cross the street. The 'walking person' light tells pedestrians that they may begin to cross. The pedestrian protection does not end when the 'walking person' light ends and the 'flashing hand' indication begins. The 'flashing hand' indication means to continue crossing if you have entered the cross-walk and do not begin to cross if you have not entered the crosswalk.​

  • I am a slow walker and do not have enough time to get across. What should I do?

    Always push the pedestrian button and wait for a fresh 'walking person' indication. Begin your crossing immediately after the 'walking person' light comes on. Pedestrian crossing times are calculated using guidelines set out by the Ministry of Transportation which specify a walking speed of 1 to 1.2 meters per second. This is a very comfortable walking speed for the average person including children and seniors. The duration of the 'flashing hand' indication is the time needed to cross the entire distance from one side to the other.​

  • Turning vehicles cut in front and behind me when I cross, even when the 'walking person' light is displayed. What should I do?

    The Ontario Highway Traffic Act requires all vehicles to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Some drivers may not show enough courtesy and will attempt to turn in front of or behind pedestrians. For your own safety, be attentive and watch for turning vehicles across your path. Make eye contact with the turning driver and be certain that it is safe to cross before continuing.​

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