Why You Now Need to Push This Button Again in Downtown Rochester
For a while there, pushing this button at intersections in Rochester wouldn't do anything. But that's apparently not the case anymore.
It was earlier this spring that I first noticed these signs on a traffic signal in downtown Rochester. I wrote then about how those signs were alerting me about these now-meaningless buttons on a traffic signal at the intersection of 2nd Street and Highway-52 in Rochester while I was stopped at a red light.
Back then, I initially wasn't close enough to the sign to read what it said. However, I just noticed a similar sign on a traffic signal at the intersection of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue and was able to park my car and get out to take a picture of the sign-- which says we no longer have to push those walk buttons, because the signal had been programmed to automatically activate the walk signal.
Exactly when and why those manual walk buttons became meaningless in Rochester is still a mystery, though THIS Star Tribune story said that the city of Minneapolis automated its walk signals during the start of the pandemic last spring, thinking that the coronavirus might be further spread by everyone touching those buttons at intersections across the city. I guessed that Rah-Rah-Rochester followed suit and did the same thing.
But now that just about all coronavirus-related restrictions are gone in Minnesota, it looks like those signs telling us there's no need to press those walk-signal buttons are now gone as well. I was driving home earlier this week and noticed that sign was missing from that same intersection of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue.
So, though I couldn't find any official word from the city of Rochester, if you're headed out downtown in Minnesota's Med City, it looks like you'll now NEED to press that button to get the walk signal activated again. Or you could just stand around and wait to see if it works automatically.
Speaking of intersections and traffic signals, Rochester certainly seems to have a LOT of them-- some of which even seem a bit unnecessary, if you ask me. Keep scrolling to check out the 11 Most Annoying Intersections in Rochester!