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Honi Soit saves pedestrian lives

A pedestrian buzzer at the City Road crossing has been repaired after angry lobbying from the Honi Soit editorial team. The buzzer, situated on the east side of City Road (outside Hermann’s) is thought to have been out of action for six months before its repair. Formally known as “Audio-Tactile Pedestrian Detectors”, pedestrian buzzers are…

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A pedestrian buzzer at the City Road crossing has been repaired after angry lobbying from the Honi Soit editorial team.

The buzzer, situated on the east side of City Road (outside Hermann’s) is thought to have been out of action for six months before its repair.

Formally known as “Audio-Tactile Pedestrian Detectors”, pedestrian buzzers are designed to assist the vision and hearing-impaired to cross the road, but their ubiquity means all pedestrians have been conditioned to cross on their signal.

Their absence can cause annoying and dangerous “slow-starts”, where pedestrians come to a late realisation the light has changed, and run across the road to compensate.

Honi reported the matter to the University’s Campus Infrastructure Services (CIS) on April 14.

A University spokesperson responded “the maintenance of the traffic lights located on the intersection of City Road and Butlin Avenue falls under the jurisdiction of the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), and the University of Sydney has brought this issue to their attention as soon as were notified of the situation.”

An RMS crew was dispatched later that day.

Regular crossing-user and former Honi editor Rebecca Wong, who is visually impaired, welcomed the fix.

“For blind people, the audio signal is the only reliable indicator of when to cross. Without it, you pretty much just have to walk when other people do, and students love engaging in acts of civil disobedience like jaywalking.”

“I’m glad it’s been fixed, now I can drink alone at Hermann’s at midday like everyone else.”

The City Road crossing is 65 metres from the Jane Foss Russell Building, where the University’s Disability Services staff are housed. It is 250 metres from CIS’ Darlington headquarters and represents the closest crossing for both departments.