Innovative croswalks hold potential to save lives


Hannah Kopek, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Picture this: altercations between pedestrians and drivers as well as hit and run accidents at crosswalks are significantly reduced. Or even better, it would be possible to cross the road at a crowded intersection diagonally. Pedestrian scrambles, or scramble crosswalks are an alternative to traditional crosswalks. Instead of running parallel to the road and allowing individuals to cross at the same time as vehicles, scramble crosswalks would close down an intersection for a designated amount of time and allow people to cross in whichever direction they need without worrying about colliding with a car.

These crosswalks are not a new idea – one was instituted in Oakland California in 2002. According to the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley, before the scramble system was implemented, pedestrians would leave the curb before the walk signal and vehicles would encroach into crosswalks. Within the first month, they noticed improvements in walking times and vehicle movement facilitation – which means it was easier for cars to turn in their designated time, without having to worry about striking a pedestrian. It also reduced rates of conflict at intersections from 11.8 conflicts per 1,000 pedestrians to 6.4 conflicts.

Crosswalks like these would be beneficial to implement in settings with a high pedestrian population, from cities like Chicago, to suburban centers like Downtown Naperville, and on college campuses. They wouldn’t be very efficient in a small-town setting, so implementation should be on a case by case basis in order to conserve resources and prevent unnecessary disruptions to the flow of existing traffic.

It is crucial to give both pedestrians and drivers safe transportation route. Although there are some ill-effects to these sidewalks, like increased travel time for motorists, it is worth tacking on an extra five minutes to one’s travel time to ensure the safety of others. Scramble crosswalks would lessen the risk of negative vehicle and pedestrian, which would make travel safer for everyone involved.