illustration: Christy Lundy

Pedestrian Scrambles: How to Cross Like a Boss

By Kellie Davenport

What is a scramble?
It’s an intersection that stops all vehicular traffic, including bikes, during an “all red” rotation of lights. This allows pedestrians to safely cross in all directions—even diagonally—without the interference of turning cars.

When did they start?
Pedestrian scrambles aren’t new: They first emerged in the 1940s in major centres like Vancouver and Denver. Edmonton had a couple but they were removed in 1959, thanks to the growing volume of vehicles on the road and increased emphasis on speedier car traffic. They’re back in fashion today, at intersections throughout Alberta, and in cities including Toronto, New York City, Pittsburgh, Tokyo, Sydney and Auckland.

Road rules refresher: traffic circles and roundabouts

Why do we need them?
Cars turning at intersections remain a leading cause of collisions with pedestrians and cyclists—often resulting in injury and even death. Studies have found that scramble intersections can cut vehicle-pedestrian collision rates in half.

pedestrian scrambles crosswalk intersection
illustration: Christy Lundy

How do they work?
When all vehicles have a red, pedestrians can cross in any direction, including diagonally

2 During the all-red signal, vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, buses and bikes, must stop

3 Drivers: Do not turn on a red on any corner

4 Pedestrians’ cross-all-ways phase typically activates every third signal rotation

Taking steps toward safer roads in Alberta

Where are they?
Some of the pedestrian scrambles around Alberta include:

• 103 Ave. at 103 St.
• 104 Ave. at 104 St.
• 104 Ave. at 102 St.
• 105 Ave. at 105 St.
• Jasper Ave. at 104 St.
• Whyte Ave. at 105 St.
• Stony Plain Rd. at 152 St.
• Jasper Ave. at Rice Howard Way

• 3 St. SW at 2 Ave. and 3 Ave. SW

St. Albert
• Perron St. at St. Anne St.

• Banff Ave. at Wolf St., Caribou St. and Buffalo St.