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Technology is worthless without personal responsibility

By Sean Ryan

Pedestrians in Milwaukee apparently need some more guidance when crossing the streets, and the city is looking for some federal money to give it to them.

The problem, apparently, is walkers need the countdown timers at the crosswalk signals to tell them how long they have until the light turns yellow and drivers will come raging off the starting line.

The city has identified 365 intersections that need the pedestrian signals with the countdown lights, and the Department of Public Works plans to apply for $2.8 million in federal money to install them.

The city has tallied 155 pedestrians who were injured in crashes at those intersections between 2006 and 2009.

The countdowns will only lower that statistic if both drivers and walkers use them for good, and not evil.

As a former daredevil pedestrian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I like the countdowns.

As a current downtown Milwaukee motorist, I’ve seen some Milwaukee School of Engineering students start walking when their countdown less than T-Minus 5 seconds and counting. This is not smart.

I also watch the countdowns when stopped at a red light to know when I should shift into gear and hit the gas. This is not good, and I resolve to stop.

I’m putting out a call for personal responsibility to all the folks in downtown Milwaukee and around the state: If we’re going to spend millions on these countdown signals, use them properly.

Drivers: Keep an eye out for pedestrians. Pedestrians: Don’t walk when you’re not supposed to.

Sean Ryan, a staff writer at The Daily Reporter, kindly requests safe access to cross the street tonight on the way to his car.

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