A University of Calgary student became a local hero earlier this week when his quick thinking and even quicker fingers allowed several pedestrians to cross an intersection in record time.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28, third-year environmental sciences student David Brinson utilized his never-say-die attitude at the corner of 32 Ave. and Campus Dr. by repeatedly hitting the cross-walk button until the 'Walk' signal appeared, a strategy he said has helped him in the past.
"I never stop at just hitting it once," said Brinson, jabbing his finger into the air at mid-height. "If you keep hitting the button it makes the light change faster. I know because I timed it one time."
Others were also impressed by the skill Brinson exhibited in the areas of time saving and intelligence. Maintenance support worker Michael Davis had been waiting at the crossing for nearly 30 seconds and considered not crossing the street at all before Brinson arrived.
"All I knew was that I needed to get to the other side," said Davis, gesturing with his hands to denote the intersection. "Then all of a sudden this kid shows up and hits the button. I was like, 'Okay, I already did that' but then, no warning, he just up and hits it again and then again. By the time I lost track I was like, 'this guy's on to something.' "
"I was worried at first," said Cheryl McMahon, a cyclist and development studies instructor. "I always thought that when you pressed it again it cancelled the first press out, but I guess I was wrong."
Not all were as enthused with Brinson's accomplishment. Fourth-year business student Melissa Todd planned on driving through the intersection uninterrupted, when she was suddenly brought to a standstill.
"Just touch the button once," said Todd. "These timers are set up for a reason and when you go messing with them the whole network gets messed up, I'm pretty sure."
Though none of the witnesses interviewed were exactly certain how the traffic system was affected by repeated activation of the pedestrian button, all agreed it had to do with either sensors, 'timed disks' or fiber optics.
City of Calgary public works officer Rami Bardeesi stopped short of saying that Brinson should be hailed as an inspiration.
"Pushing the button doesn't do anything," Bardeesi said. "It's just annoying."