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Is the Close Door function on an elevator useless?

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Darian Altenwerth
November 06, 2019 11:01PM

It turns out that the vast majority of functioning close-door buttons on elevators became obsolete as a result of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, which required that elevator doors remain open for a minimum of three seconds, or long enough for anyone with a wheelchair, cane, etc. to safely get on board. The only exception to the rule is if a firefighter manually overrides the door function with a key.

Karen W. Penafiel, the executive director of the National Elevator Industry, Inc., confirmed in an interview with The New York Times that by pushing the button, "the riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster." However, this hasn’t prevented manufacturers from continuing to install them in order to give the public a false sense of control.

Another example of this type of "mechanical placebo," as it's called, includes pedestrian crosswalk buttons that were deactivated with the rise of computer-controlled traffic signals.

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Wiki User
May 26, 2009 9:07AM

It's not used much, but it's not completely useless:

* If you need to get to another floor quite quickly, using the close door button will start the elevator a few seconds earlier. * If you pressed the open door button without needing to, using the close door button may cancel the wait

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