The Scramble

October 29th, 2007 by Potato

The CBC is reporting on a new traffic light timing scheme that will see pedestrians scramble across the road with traffic stopped in all directions. I’m not quite sure what to make of that. I remember in Kanazawa there was an intersection which a few times stopped all car traffic and let pedestrians cross (there were even separate diagonal crossing walk/don’t walk signals). It seemed really strange and bizarre at the time. For time when intersections can really build up with a backlog of people waiting to cross, I suppose it could help move the pedestrian traffic. It could also make crossing safer since cars won’t be able to turn during the scramble, which is where most close calls seem to come from. But I can’t really say if it would actually help the pedestrians as much as I would guess it would impede the car traffic…

3 Responses to “The Scramble”

  1. Wayfare Says:

    I can see how this would make some sense – traffic gets quite backed up at these corners when cars are trying to turn at the same time as pedestrians are crossing, but I seriously question the logic of this:

    “The scramble is only in effect when there are lots of feet on the street. Things would go back to normal overnight.”

    Whaa? So first you train the pedestrians to cross all willy-nilly without having to check for rogue right-turning cars, and at the same time teach drivers that they no longer have to check their blind spots for pedestrians and then *at night* when there’s less visibility and more crazy drunk people walking the streets you switch back? This sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  2. Potato Says:

    and at the same time teach drivers that they no longer have to check their blind spots for pedestrians

    Well, that might not be true. If this is similar to the implementation in Japan, then the scramble is an additional pedestrian crossing signal. The normal rules still apply for the one-way-at-a-time crossings.

    I.E.: Pedestrians and cars cross north/south, as now. Lights change, advanced green for turning traffic (if applicable), then cars and pedestrians cross east/west. Then the lights change again, and pedestrians can cross diagonal, cars are stopped in all directions…

    Of course, the “no turning restrictions” part for the cars implies that perhaps pedestrians might be forced to wait until the scramble, which would lead to the chaos you describe… of course, that then doesn’t sound like it gives pedestrians any more priority, unless traffic is really going to be slowed down…

  3. netbug Says:

    (1:20ish into that)