The scramble intersection at Yonge and Dundas was activated this morning. Pedestrians were slightly confused early on, but by the time the TV cameras and throngs of reporters and bloggers arrived for the 11am kick-off, most everyone understood what to do. City staff could be seen criss-crossing the street during the scramble signal to show other walkers that is was fine to cross the intersection in a diagonal manner.
There are two small improvements the City should consider as they study the intersection’s impact: extend the zebra stripes diagonally across the intersection (currently only three bars stretch toward the middle), and increase the size of the “priority crossing” sign (see photo below). The north-south and east-west crossings are clearly marked, so it only makes sense to do the same for diagonal crossings — this visual key could eliminate the use of police officers and transportation department staff almost immediately. As for the sign, it is so small that even a person with tremendous eye sight can hardly read it form across the street. It is not an internationally recognized wayfinding symbol, so the City needs to make it much larger to clearly communicate it’s intended meaning. And honestly, I think only the words “Pedestrian Priority Crossing” is all that is needed.
Lastly, an announcement can be heard coming out from the vertical poles telling pedestrians they can cross diagonally. But the quality of sound is horrendous and I could never actually discern what we were being told. I recognize this is for the visually impaired pedestrians and not folks like me, but I think a better sound system is needed or the creation of a scramble beep/sound should be considered.
Spacing is teaming up with photoblogger Sam Javanrouh to do a little something on the intersection. Keep an eye out for it over the next day or two.