Seventeen months into a scramble crosswalk pilot project, the city has received mixed feedback on its success.
The city’s manager of traffic, Troy McLeod, admits he’s heard drivers aren’t fond of the wait — especially when there are few pedestrians using the unique foot-friendly crossings while all four directions of traffic idle — but walkers enjoy the freedom to cross the Eau Claire 3rd Street SW crisscross intersection as they please.
“What we’ve heard (from pedestrians) is that it’s a great concept and that we should have had it a long time ago,” he said.
While foot traffic volume hasn’t increased substantially, McLeod said, the crossing, which allows pedestrians to navigate the intersection diagonally instead of crossing lanes of directional traffic, has seen an obvious jump in people skipping kitty-corner in their bipedal commute.
To address drivers’ concern of longer vehicle wait times, McLeod said the signal lengths have been adjusted in off-peak pedestrian hours to allow for a freer flow of traffic.
While this pilot project is expected to continue, McLeod said no other downtown intersections have been identified for similar scramble setups.
“The locations have to have high pedestrian traffic and minimal impact on other operations such as transit and cyclists,” he said, noting for other areas to be considered they would have to meet a stringent criteria.