Feb 8, 2024 - News

The secret "cheat code" at four Minneapolis crosswalks

A faded crosswalk sign and pedestrian button at an intersection with a light rail train and a car whizzing by in the background.

University & Malcolm avenues in Minneapolis, one of four intersections programmed with a "cheat code" that gives pedestrians more time to cross. Photo: Kyle Stokes/Axios

The internet rumors are true. Minneapolis has re-programmed crosswalk signals at four different intersections to give pedestrians extra time to cross the street — if you know the "cheat code."

How it works: At the intersection of University and Malcolm avenues, hold the crosswalk button for five seconds while waiting for the "walk" signal.

  • When I tried it, I got an extra 15 seconds to cross.

Why it matters: The city has big goals to encourage more people to ditch cars in favor of walking, biking, or transit — but people with mobility challenges can have a tougher time getting across busy streets.

Yes, but: There are no signs at Malcolm and University hinting at the "cheat code."

The intrigue: Minneapolis' Department of Public Works made the change at the Malcolm intersection at the request of a senior living community on the corner, city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie told Axios in an email.

  • The city figures that the people who requested the change already know about it, so no need for signage.

What's next: McKenzie said the city is still "evaluating this type of operation to see if it would be valuable elsewhere" — and if so, whether they should install signs advertising the feature.

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