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Crossing countdown

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Beaudry Avenue doesn't do much more than provide a quick driving getaway from downtown to Echo Park, but since we travel that way a lot we're quite familiar with it. So driving home one nght, we were compelled to stop short and get a photo of the new pedestrial signals at Beaudry and 1st.

These new countdown signals feature the classic walking guy then switch to ye ol' blinking red hand when you're running out of time. But in case you don't get the point, a countdown starts: 10 - 9 - 8 ... When it gets to 2, you really shouldn't be in the middle of the street with your camera. Oops.

West Hollywood has had these for a while. Whether or not they improve safety seems to be undetermined (scintillating research like The Effects of Innovative Pedestrian Signs is trying to provide some direction). The new signs seem kind of helpful, but also kind of confusing. If the sign blinks 5, and you're not yet halfway across, should you run back? If you're a little creaky and unable to make it across in time, will the countdown bring on stress-related health problems as you suddenly realize you only have 3 seconds to make the opposite curb before the Escalade begins gunning for you?

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Wouldn't it be nice if the new countdown signs somehow attracted pedestrians? Because that corner at Beaudry and 1st gets about as much foot traffic as the gentle coast of the Salton Sea.