The lines are painted and the signals have been installed — soon, two of the busiest pedestrian crossings in south Edmonton will become scramble intersections.
“Pedestrian scrambles are safe and accessible crossing locations, they are typically used in high pedestrian areas,” City of Edmonton safe mobility engineer manager Shewkar Ibrahim said.
Scramble crosswalks force vehicles to stop in all directions — allowing pedestrians to cross all ways, including diagonally. Drivers are not allowed to turn right on a red light while pedestrians are crossing.
Pedestrians can cross diagonally as Edmonton tries 2 ‘scramble’ crosswalks
The city already has eight scramble intersections and two more will be added on Whyte (82) Avenue at the end of this month: one at Gateway Boulevard, and the other a block west at Calgary Trail.
“Pedestrian scramble intersections prevent any conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, it’s actually really beneficial,” Ibrahim said.
2 scramble crosswalks added by Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton
Leopold’s Tavern is right in front of one of the soon-to-open crosswalks on 82 Avenue and Gateway Boulevard.
“[Scramble intersections] brings a lot of foot traffic and seems to be a little bit safer in other parts of the city,” Zachary Olson with Leopold’s Tavern said.
“It’s nice to see people hopefully cross safer and diagonally, all at once.”
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The city says 70 per cent of pedestrians are in favour of the new crosswalks and over the last four years there have been no deaths at the other scrambled intersections.
But not all see the change as a safer alternative. The crosswalk at Whyte Avenue and 105 Street, in front of store When Pigs Fly, is one of eight already in use.
“Being on this corner, I’ve seen people get hit, I’ve seen bikes going through lights they shouldn’t be going through, I’ve seen cars pulled over for turning on a red light,” When Pigs Fly manager Tara Chekowski said.
She added the crosswalks could work better if there was improved signage and more information about them.
“A lot of it is confusing to drivers and pedestrians as well,” Chekowski said.
Edmonton tries out new ‘pedestrian scramble’ crosswalks
The city said it will add signs at the new crossings, and people can visit its website for more information.
The intersection style isn’t new to the city: Edmonton used to have pedestrian scramble intersections many decades ago, but phased them out by the end of the 1950s to accommodate growing demand for vehicles.
People may want to familiarize themselves sooner rather than later, as the city plans to re-add even more of scramble intersections in the near future.
— With files from Emily Mertz and Karen Bartko, Global News
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