HALIFAX – I’ve watched with joy as cities around the world have embraced pedestrian culture. From one side of the globe to the other, cities have been implementing ‘pedestrian scrambles’—intersections where all car traffic is stopped and pedestrians are allowed to cross in any direction without fear of being hit. First known as a Barnes dance, these crossings now grace the streets of Auckland, Tokyo, Kansas City, London and Toronto to name only a few.
About a month ago, Joshua Biggley posted on Charlottetown’s recent steps towards getting the first pedestrian scramble in Atlantic Canada. While I applaud their initiative, it strikes me as odd that in Halifax, the region’s biggest city, scrambles haven’t even been mentioned. So it got me thinking, if Halifax was to get a pedestrian scramble, where would it go?
Spring Garden and Dresden Row
Arguably the most frequented intersection in the city, this thoroughfare would likely be the ideal location a first pedestrian scramble. [ view ]
Robie Street, Quinpool Road, Cogswell Street and Bell Road (pictured above)
Maybe this is a little too ambitious, but what about installing a seasonal pedestrian crossing to help connect the Common to Quinpool Road. Currently, it’s not too much of a stretch to say this intersection is one of the most pedestrian un-friendly in the city. Throwing down some painted stripes and enabling pedestrians to cross the street in any direction all at one time could demonstrate the added safety benefits a scramble would bring, while also potentially providing tentative cyclists a way across the otherwise forbidding intersection (although this would have to be written into the by-law). [ view ]
Pizza Corner (Grafton and Blowers Streets)
Already a bit of an unofficial scramble, putting an official pedestrian scramble here might not only be the easiest way to introduce pedestrian scrambles to Atlantic Canada, but it could be a good way of getting similarly developed intersections scrambles of their own. [ view ]
There are a whole number of spots on Barrington that could benefit from pedestrian scrambles. Either at Sackville, Prince, Blowers or possibly even at Morris Street, putting in this kind of infrastructure could really inject a little life into the currently shuttered sidewalks of much of Halifax’s downtown main street. [ view ]
photo by Lawrence Plug