The City of Victoria will be getting a new “pedestrian scramble” style crosswalk as part of the installation of the Wharf and Humboldt Streets bike lanes, but here’s an Easter egg for you: there’s already a pedestrian scramble in the downtown core.
The multi-directional crosswalks are popular in urban centres like Toronto, New York and Tokyo, and allow for linear and diagonal walking (which gives it the alternative name, “X crossing”).
While the idea might seem novel for Victoria, the intersection at Government and View Streets has actually been an unmarked pedestrian scramble for a long time. This function works at that location because of its three-way lead into Bastion Square. This means that even though most people adhere to the marked lines when crossing the street, it’s also perfectly legal to cross diagonally because all traffic stops to red light signals at the same time.
“Most people don’t know about it,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement at the City of Victoria. “But, you won’t get a ticket for crossing there.”
The new scramble at Humboldt and Wharf will be more specifically marked, and cater to a higher volume of cars and pedestrians.
“There is a planned pedestrian scramble being introduced with the construction of Wharf/Humboldt street All Ages & Abilities Cycling Network project in 2019,” said Eisenhauer. “We haven’t completely determined the markings yet for the new one coming. But it will have diagonal markings as well.”
The crosswalk will have all vehicles stop at once so that pedestrians can cross in multiple directions.
Currently, that phase of the Victoria bike network is being prepared for with underground and infrastructural upgrades in the area.
The project is slated for completion by summer 2019.
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