The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Orientation and Mobility: Anatomy of a Stoplight


I really did want to come up with a wittier name for this post, but it is what it is… And today’s lesson was all about intersections controlled with stoplights.

We where at the same area we use last time, and made our way to the intersection I had stopped at before. Elain explained to me that there are two different types of stoplights. One is called a Variable Timed, and the other Fixed Time. You can guess by their names, it’s really simple.

Traffic LightA variable timed intersection is controlled by a stoplight with an embedded pressure plate or wiring that a car rolls over to control the amount of time the light will stay green on the next cycle. – You can usually see the wires or plate in the roadway. A fixed time intersection has a set interval of red to green cycles that will not change… Simple.

Did you know most traffic lights and cross walk lights timing are based on the fact humans walk about 5-feet-per-second? The wider the street, technically the longer the light will stay green, or walk light will stay on. Did you know that on a variable timed intersection, most lights will add about 3-seconds to the light cycle for each car in the line, most times with a maximum up to three cars deep? (That’s about 9 or 10-seconds.)

Man, it turns out mobility instructors really know their stuff!

So any way… We approached and surveyed the intersection. We determined it was a variable timed intersection; the main street cycle was about 30-seconds, and the side street was about 15-seconds. We noted stoplight pedestrian buttons and we talked about there use. Remember to use them when cars are rolling, so they interrupt the cycle; but remember, some may not work, (in our case one was broken).

The button facing into you is used to control that light crossing the street that you are facing, the button should never be behind you, if so, it’s likely not for that street.

We hit the button, lined up, and waited for the light to change. Here it comes, lights green, check left, center, right, all clear, and go! Always noting the danger point and crossing traffic, many intersections, it’s the middle of the cross walk where you could have cars turn in front of you, particularly if a stopped car is to your left.

Not bad, we made it… and now… we do it again! We continued this way making circles around the intersection when it was the proper time to cross; it must have looked funny, because we looped the intersection clockwise about a half-dozen times.

We talked about the dangerous turn-on-red that so many drivers like to do, even though some (a lot) like to ignore the no-turn-on-red signs. She reminded me that pedestrians still have the right-of-way at crossings, and if a car is at a stop, it’s unlikely they will turn on you. – But I still take little comfort in that. This is part of the huge anxiety of street crossings that gets to me. But the only way to get over this fear is to do more street crossings.

So drivers, please put down your cell phone, stop putting on your makeup, don’t pass stopped cars and pay more attention at intersections. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at cross walks, and persons with a white cane or service dog have even more! If you’d just pay attention, the road would be much safer for all of us!

If you blow your horn at me, and flip me the finger… I’m likely to cane your car, you ungrateful 4-wheeled little bastard. – Road rage, blind man style! – I didn’t say that, I deny everything! I didn’t see your car, I swear!

Next week Elaine says we’re going to play in more traffic, and a little busier intersection. Oh the joy! In all I’d have to say I’m still a 3 out of 5 for busy intersections. But a strong 4 out of 5 for lesser intersections.

Lets see what next week brings!

Possibly Related Posts:


Portraits in Black and White


My students…

Matt

Brandon

Nick

Paul

Nick

Justin

Jason

Ok, so it’s not black and white, but… I could not resist the two hams…

Nick and Jason

All images shot with the Nikon D3 DSLR, and Nikon 70-200 2.8 AF-S VR lens. 1/640 @ f/2.8, ISO 3200. Image processing in Adobe Lightroom 2.3.

Possibly Related Posts:


  • 2 Comments
  • Filed under: Judo, Personal
  • 2009 Pennsylvania State Judo Championships


    aventure-judo-18This past weekend we attended the 2009 Pennsylvania State Judo Championships. I had six junior students attend plus Sensei Andy, Sensei Fred and myself. I think we made out alright, though I think we could do a little better. I’ve very proud of my students as for some of them, this was their first ever judo event. It’s not easy when your first ever event is the State Championships!

    I had three matches myself that day in Mens Open category at 145lbs (66kg)… My first match the guy just muscled me. I went in for a dropping shoulder throw and I missed! He got in behind me, and… choked me out… The good thing is you don’t remember much…

    My second match I did much better… This time again with the dropping shoulder throw I got under the guy and planted him in the center of the matt with a perfect throw – Ippon! The match was over in less then 20-seconds. Nice crowed reaction too. Every one complimented me on the nice throw!

    My third match I just screwed up. It was a skinny brown-belt guy, likely on the light side of 145lbs. I had control of him; or so I thought… At one point I actually moved his whole body with a foot-sweep, but… didn’t follow threw… He scored two, 1/2-point techniques on me, and the match was over… That one upset me more then being choked-out!

    My students did well:

    • Nick took 1st!
    • Matt took 1st!
    • Brandon took 2nd!
    • Jason, Attended… He was my youngest student, sadly he did not place. But I’m very proud of him. It was his very first judo tournament.
    • Paul took 2nd!
    • Justin took 3rd!
    • Sensei Andy took 3rd in Mens Masters Over 30.
    • Friend, Dr. Andre Watson took 1st in Mens Masters and 2nd in Mens Open 90kg.

    Nick with 1st!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Possibly Related Posts:


  • 5 Comments
  • Filed under: Judo, Personal