BOSTON (CBS) – Jabbing that walk button while waiting to cross the street might be a pointless exercise.

It turns out that most of those buttons don’t actually do anything.

The Boston Globe reports that the majority of pedestrian buttons downtown are set to a schedule allowing people to cross at regular intervals.

crosswalk button Most Crosswalk Buttons In Downtown Boston Dont Do Anything

A pedestrian button in Boston (WBZ)

Those buttons did work decades ago but officials say the city is too congested now to allow pedestrians that kind of power.

Some people, however, think the useless buttons need to go.

“We’ve been looking at them for years and wondering why they’re still there,” WalkBoston’s Wendy Landman tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “It’s really mostly the tourists who are pushing the buttons downtown.

This situation is not unique to Boston. A New York Times article from last October explained non-functioning crosswalk buttons and door-close buttons in elevators are “placebos that promote an illusion of control.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jeff Brown reports: 

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