Vancouver Next For Pedestrian Scramble

A pedestrian scramble doesn’t sound safe at all. Yet according to the City of Vancouver, safe is exactly what it is. A scramble crossing features an all-direction pedestrian signal to cut down on collisions in high risk areas. The Vancouver Sun reports that Robson Street will host the first crossing site – another extension of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 plan to make the city more accessible and friendly. It’s unknown at this time as to which cross street will feature the pilot project but I would not be surprised to see it at a busy intersection such as Robson Street and Granville Street.

In the 1950s, Granville Street had two all-direction pedestrian intersections but they were shut down due to high congestion. Director of transportation Jerry Dobrovolny says that “the crossings were deemed ineffective in those locations as they caused longer waiting times for both vehicles and pedestrians.” Transit, streetcar, bicycle and motorist delays add to the congestion and led to the removal of many of these crossings.

However, Dobrovolny says Vancouver’s “increasingly pedestrian-choked crosswalks have already started to feel the strain with a lot of conflict between right-turning and left-turning vehicles and pedestrians in the crosswalks.”

There are no ideal locations for these intersections and vehicle delays may make drivers impatient in already tense traffic situations. Nevertheless the fear is that pedestrians who jaywalk and ignore posted traffic signs will continue to be at greater risk from inattentive motorists. While these intersections may cause too many traffic delays to be sustainable, it is possible that they could cut down on pedestrian accidents.

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Nicholas Tsoi
Nicholas Tsoi joined Slater Vecchio in August 2011. Nicholas has represented clients in the Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal.