Where possible, pedestrian signals are programmed to automatically be served each signal cycle, so that pedestrians do not have to push the pedestrian button. This is often not possible due to site-specific constraints, and it is a good idea to push the button if there is one available.
Once a pedestrian indication starts, there can be some confusion as to the meaning of the signal indications. The first indication is a white walking person. This symbol means the pedestrian can start walking in the direction of the signal. This is followed by a flashing orange hand symbol. The flashing hand does not mean that the pedestrian should stop crossing the street. When this flashing symbol is shown, any pedestrians who have started to cross the street should continue crossing, but pedestrians that have not yet started to cross should not begin crossing. At certain intersections there is also a countdown timer associated with the flashing hand that lets the pedestrian know how much time is left to continue crossing the street.
The length of the flashing hand indication can be quite long. It is calculated based on the length of the crosswalk and the nationally recognized average walking speed of pedestrians. A flashing hand terminates with a solid orange hand symbol. Pedestrians should not be in the crosswalk when the solid hand symbol is being shown. Questions about pedestrian signals should be referred to the Traffic Engineering Division at 707-543-3814.