‘Scrambles’ will help pedestrians get over easy, city hopes

The City of Edmonton is testing “pedestrian scrambles” at two major intersections — one downtown and the other in Old Strathcona.

The crosswalk designs allow pedestrians to cross an intersection in every direction, including diagonally, when all vehicular traffic has been temporarily stopped.

Travel times for vehicles, transit and pedestrians will be affected, but the changes are expected to improve pedestrian safety and convenience, the city said in a news release Friday.

One scramble has been installed at Jasper Avenue and 104th Street.

The other will be installed Oct. 5 at Whyte Avenue and 105th Street.

The city explained how the scrambles will work:

  • Pedestrians can cross the intersection in every direction, including diagonally, at the same time while all vehicular traffic is temporarily stopped.
  • When north-south and east-west drivers have the right of way, pedestrians moving in those directions will be stopped.
  • To ensure no vehicles cross paths with pedestrians, vehicles are not permitted to make right turns when the traffic signal is red.

New signs at Jasper Avenue and 104th Street tell pedestrians how and when to use the new diagonal crosswalk. (CBC)

The two intersections chosen for the pilot project have high pedestrian volumes, high rates of turning vehicles and a history of pedestrian-vehicle collisions, the city said.

In the last five years there have been two vehicle-pedestrian collisions at Jasper Avenue and 104th Street, and five at Whyte Avenue and 105th Street.

“Safety for everyone is the priority for this pilot,” Olga Messinis, the city’s director of network operations, said in a statement.

“The goal of the pilot project is to see if this intersection design decreases or eliminates collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, a major goal for the City’s Vision Zero strategy.”

‘Barnes Dances’

Pedestrian scrambles are also known as “scramble intersections” or “exclusive pedestrian intervals.”

They are also called “Barnes Dances,” after American traffic engineer Henry Barnes, who first popularized them in the 1950s.

Edmonton has had them before. In 1959, the final two were removed from downtown intersections to accommodate growing demand for vehicles.

The idea resurfaced as part of the city’s road safety strategy.

Calgary has two pedestrian scrambles; one is being tested in downtown St. Albert.

Pedestrian scrambles are in use in New York City and Pittsburgh, and in cities in Australia and Japan.

A pedestrian gets advice Friday on how to use a new “pedestrian scramble” at Jasper Avenue and 104th Street. (CBC)

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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