@callow Results vary, but yeah, there are more than a few that are broken, and very few people report that. For that matter, a lot of places don’t exactly make it easy to flag it with the appropriate agency.
At an intersection with left turn lead lights and significant traffic, they serve a valid purpose when they work. But as often as not, they’re installed where they are only needed some of the time, and yet their mere presence implies that You Must Have Our Permission To Cross The Street You Incompetent Child. So yes, I can see IRK’s (writer’s) point.
I will also note that I am very amused by the people who loudly proclaim that the crosswalk buttons don’t actually do anything, refuse to push them, and then stand there bitching because they never got a Walk signal. More than once, hearing such rants as I approached, if I had time to spare anyway, I have purposefully not pushed the button. And then, after the traffic had kept them stationary through a full cycle, I pushed the button and they got proven wrong. (It only works where there’s lots of vehicle traffic. Otherwise, the ranters will just ignore the light and make the dash.)