To cross the street, push button

Or not. This is an old story - two-and-a-half years old, in fact - but I'd never seen it before and it's interesting. It turns out that most of the buttons for pedestrian crossings in New York don't do anything at all. They were disconnected years ago.

Most of the buttons scattered through the city, mainly outside of Manhattan, are relics of the 1970's, before computers began tightly choreographing traffic signal patterns on major arteries. They were installed at a time when traffic was much lighter, said Michael Primeggia, deputy commissioner of traffic operations for the city's Transportation Department.

I wonder whether that's true at traffic lights in Britain. It certainly feels like it in many places. [via Digg]