Something about this picture is about to change.
As reported by Spacing’s Wire this morning, new signal lights due to start working about a month from now will be the first sign of a new type of intersection in Toronto. It’s known as a “scramble intersection,” because traffic from both directions is periodically stopped at once, allowing pedestrians to cross whichever way they want.
Turning cars will no longer have to compete with pedestrians, but the main advantage is to the pedestrians themselves, who—while they may have to wait longer for their turn—will be able to cross diagonally instead of waiting twice. Pedestrians also won’t be bothered by cars turning into their midst while crossing.
The most iconic intersection of this type is its busiest incarnation at Shibuya in Tokyo (perhaps best known to Westerners for its appearance in Lost in Translation). But they are also widely in use in some cities around the UK, where cars are never permitted to turn on a red light.
Oddly, Vancouver was one of the first cities to implement the scramble crossing in the 1940s, but it’s taken nearly 70 years to work its way over to this side of the country.
Scramble intersections are also planned for Yonge and Bloor, Bay and Bloor, and Bay and Dundas later this year.
Photo by David Topping.