Monday, November 10, 2008

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, Canada in the late 1940s, and has since then been adopted in many other cities and countries. It is most recently adopted in Toronto.

Jarah and I will be meeting with Councillor McHattie Nov 11th to talk about the possibility of a scramble for Dundurn and Main St. Meanwhile, here is an article from today's spec about a scramble at York and MacNab:

Pedestrians may soon scramble to market
Crossing and MacNab and York part of renewal plan

The Hamilton Spectator

(Nov 10, 2008)

Get ready to scramble, Hamilton.

That is, if all goes according to plan on York Boulevard.

City staff have designed three concepts to revamp the streetscape of the road, all of which include a pedestrian scramble at the intersection of MacNab Street and York across from the Hamilton Farmers' Market.

The scramble allows pedestrians to cross the road in any direction, including diagonally, during a designated traffic light.

It's a model used around the world, and Toronto recently launched its own scramble at a downtown intersection.

"The scramble really reflects what I think is the true attitude of pedestrians, which is: 'If it's OK to go, go. And if I need to get across the diagonal, well, I'll go that way,'" said downtown Councillor Bob Bratina.

If implemented, the scramble would be the first of its kind in the city.

David Cuming, acting manager of community planning and design with the city, said creating a scramble would give pedestrians easier access from places like the parking garage to the Hamilton Farmers' Market.

"It goes back to that basic supposition that the pedestrians, in certain areas of the downtown, should take precedence over vehicular traffic," he said.

Cuming said public works staff have advised that the idea may need more analysis, but the designers wanted to get the concept out to stimulate public interest.

The regeneration of York is still in its early stages, with the public only receiving their first glimpse of the three concepts at an information centre last week.

The plan, developed around the two-way conversion of the street, covers the area along York from Bay Street North to James Street North.

Some of the ideas highlighted in the concepts include limiting street parking, creating additional sidewalk in front of the market and library, opening two or more lanes of traffic to vendors and events, or closing the street for special events on weekends or holidays.

Bratina said the street is basically a "highway" and needs to have a human pedestrian element brought back in.

He said if some of the roadway can be used for vendors for special events, while traffic can still get through, "that's a pretty broad and comprehensive way of looking at pedestrians and traffic living together."

Staff will try to finalize a preferred plan by spring.

It's anticipated work would be done at the same time as planned market and and library renovations.


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