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Scramble Crossings for Cincinnati

Those who frequent Downtown know how crowded some intersections get with pedestrians throughout the day. There are 23 intersections that see more than 1,000 pedestrians during peak hours. Of those 23, five see more than 2,000 and one (4th & Walnut) sees over 3,000 pedestrians per hour.

That’s a lot of people walking around and trying to navigate the roadways filled with delivery trucks, taxis, buses, bicyclists and the hurried drivers. In addition to it being frustrating, it can also be dangerous to attempt multiple crossings of the same congested intersection.

2008 Downtown Pedestrian Count Map

If pedestrians were able to cross diagonally across intersections with traffic stopped in all directions, it would improve both vehicular and pedestrian flow, but also improve safety across the board.

Scramble crossings” essentially are intersections that do just that. In Cincinnati’s case, intersections with high volumes of pedestrian traffic could implement these during their peak volume hours of the day. The “scramble crossings” or “diagonal crossings” could first be implemented at the five intersections that see volume in excess of 2,000 pedestrians per hour, and could be expanded as needed.

When intersections no longer have pedestrian volumes to warrant the “scramble crossings” they could revert back to normal crossing operations. The associated costs would be reprogramming of the lights, painting of the diagonal crossings and possibly some minimal signage/education. Be sure to share any other intersections you feel are qualified for such programming in the comment section.

Watch this brief 3 minute video about how Los Angeles is implementing these crossings today, and how they are functioning for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Pedestrian count data from 2008 Pedestrian Count Summary (1mb PDF)

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.