I was buzzing around the Internets today (as I do), looking for interesting photos, reading up on celebrity gossip, browsing through drink recipes, Googling people’s names – you know how it goes. Little did I know that when I clicked on one of my RSS feeds I would be slapped in the face by what seems like a brilliant idea: Scramble Intersections!
I’ve done my fair share of traveling, but never have I seen such a thing. According to Wikipedia this type of intersection is also referred to as a “pedestrian scramble”:
A pedestrian scramble, also known as a Barnes Dance or exclusive pedestrian phase, is a pedestrian crossing system that stops all traffic and allows pedestrians to cross intersections in every direction at the same time. It was first used in Kansas City and Vancouver in the late 1940s, and has since then been adopted in many other cities and countries.
With a scramble intersection there is no mixing of cars and people like we’re used to. First the cars go, then they stop. Then the pedestrians go (in every direction imaginable), then they stop. The only chance for a pedestrian to be hit is if they try to squeeze across the street at the last minute, and that’s when Darwin’s Law kicks in.
Now lots of people in DC like to complain about the safety of our streets and sometimes worry that they’re putting their lives in danger as a pedestrian. They sometimes mention specific intersections, even specific crosswalks at an intersection, such as the southwest crosswalk at 16th & U. What do you think, DC? Would some of our intersections benefit from such a system? Would you feel safer or just plain confused?