Light-emitting diodes are failing in a growing number of “Walk” sign pictographs, resulting in figures that seem to be missing half their skulls, a length of their arms, a good chunk of their thighs, one or more of their hands — or all of the above, as can be seen in the figure at left.
Let’s first state the obvious: as municipal problems go, this is not No. 1 in priority. It may not even be No. 999. The phenomenon will almost certainly not result in any increase of pedestrian injuries, since the signs remain unmistakable; bright and legible even when they’re missing 10 or more of their light-emitting diodes. The walking figures’ indivisible red-hand counterparts seem to be faring a bit better, though their LEDs can fail, too. In other words, at no time soon is anyone likely to be confused as to whether the message is stop or go.
Having said all that, however, “Walk” signs with fragmentary pictographs simply look shabby, even if they continue to serve their utilitarian purpose. They convey the idea, erroneous as it may be, that the city isn’t paying attention to details and doesn’t really care. Especially in an administration that has placed emphasis on the importance of public design and streetscapes, spotty signs like this are a blemish all over town; a very small blemish, to be sure, but a blemish nonetheless.
The Wounded Walking