Latest Issues

Improving pedestrian signals

With Semi-Actuated Type 2 (SA2) pedestrian signals, the pedestrian signal does not change to “Walk” automatically with the traffic signal. A pedestrian can end up seeing a green light but a “don’t walk” pedestrian signal if they have not pressed the pedestrian button (sometimes referred to as a “beg button”). These signals are not only frustrating, they can also be dangerous because pedestrians often end up crossing anyway, but there may not be enough time for them to get across before the light changes.

The City of Toronto has a large number of these signals in all parts of the city (see a map created by a blog commenter), many of them in high-density locations where there can be a fair amount of pedestrian traffic.

A recent blog post on Spacing Toronto asked readers to identify intersections in the city where they thought SA2 signals should be replaced by signals where the walk sign always comes on with a green light. There were many responses, reflecting the frustration pedestrians feel about this type of signal. Walk Toronto decided to send this crowdsourced list (cross-referenced with the city’s traffic signal inventory to make sure they are all SA2 signals) to City of Toronto Transportation Services with a request to review these signals and change them to the more pedestrian-friendly type of signal. It is our hope that this list is just a start, and eventually the number of SA2 signals in the city will be greatly reduced.

See our letter, with the list (PDF).