The quest to help people safely cross the street has taken many forms. Cities paint white lines to denote safe crossing points at intersections. In La Crosse, they used to want us to grab red flags and hold them above our heads when we entered a crosswalk. But the most effective method of helping people safely cross the street are those flashing yellow beacons. Walk up to the intersection, push the button, wait for the light to flash, and safely enter the crosswalk. It doesn’t matter where you are from, you know how the work. And they do work. Drivers are much more likely to stop for a pedestrian when lights are flashing. But it doesn’t sound like we will be seeing any more of these effective devices anytime soon. The Federal Highway Administration is telling American cities not to install any more of the flashing crosswalk lights because of a dispute over who owns the rights to them. Existing lights will apparently be allowed to stay. These lights are the most effective tool we have for safely crossing streets. Washington needs to get this sorted out, and soon. Pedestrian safety depends on it.