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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Time Lapse: Scrambling to Prioritize Pedestrians

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Nestled in the heart of Edmonton’s downtown, the intersection at 103/102A Avenue and 101 Street is a bustling transportation corridor for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, trucks and cars (but not prioritized in that order). This intersection, located between the Edmonton City Centre Mall and the HSBC Bank Place, lacks design for pedestrians.

Some design challenges preventing a pedestrian friendly crossing at this intersection include a parkade exit that faces 101 Street. The intersection also lacks a direct connection for pedestrians crossing the street. The crosswalk is designed  for the pedestrian to stand on a concrete island surrounded by a moat of moving cars until the light changes.

However, city builders should never underestimate the resourcefulness of pedestrians. In fact, some people already seem to treat this intersection as a pedestrian scramble as shown in the time lapse video below. The short cutting and jaywalking is evident and potentially supports the need for a pedestrian scramble.

View looking east of the 103 / 102A Avenue NW and 101 Street NW intersection

Pedestrian scrambles allow people to cross an intersection from any corner more quickly and safely. The city had pedestrian scrambles at 101 A Avenue and 102 Avenue along 101 Street, but they were removed in 1959 to favour the car. Earlier this year, the City considered putting pedestrian scrambles on Whyte Avenue to reduce the number of serious collisions with cars.

Pedestrian scrambles are an iconic status of a bustling metropolis that can support heavy pedestrian volume anytime. As Edmonton’s downtown intensifies with development from projects that contribute to the public realm such as the Rogers Place Arena, the Quarters’ Armature, and the River Valley Funicular, perhaps the sheer volume of people needed to support pedestrian scrambles could become a possibility.


One comment

  1. Thanks for doing this video and article, Stephanie. The existing design of this intersection inconveniences pedestrians, as anyone who walks across it can attest.