Pedestrian Signal Operations

The City of Waterloo Traffic Operations Department is responsible for the maintenance and timing of the pedestrian Walk and Don’t Walk signals. The Department receives question regarding how the signals operate including questions about the length of the walk light. The following is information on the pedestrian Walk and Don’t Walk signals.

The meaning of the signal indications:


WALK: walk Walk means start walking to cross.

FLASHING DON’T WALK: Dont_Walk_Hand Flashing don't walk means keep walking but do not start.

STEADY DON’T WALK: dont walk Don't walk means do not start.

WALK indications are only used for getting pedestrians started on their way across the street.In Waterloo our WALK signal normally last 7 seconds. This is plenty of time for people to see the signal, react to it, and start walking.

FLASHING DON’T WALK is set to give the pedestrian enough time to cross the street from the side of the curb to the center of the last lane. If a street were 48 feet wide, the distance to the center of the last lane would be 42 ft (48-6= 42). A pedestrian walking at the speed of 3.5 feet per second needs a minimum of 12 seconds to travel 42 feet. In Waterloo streets vary in width from 24 feet wide to over 60 feet wide and pedestrian signals are timed accordingly. Frequently the FLASHING DON’T WALK is timed more than the minimum. This happens when there is more time available. It also can happen when a lot of people who walk slower, like people with disabilities, use the crossing.