CHICAGO
06/01/2013 11:08 am ET

Chicago Pedestrian Scramble: City Debuts New All-Way Pedestrian Crosswalk In Loop

Pedestrians tired of doding cars eager to turn in the Loop now have more room — and time — to shuffle. Or rather, "scramble."

On Friday, city officials unveiled an all-way crosswalk at the busy intersection of State Street and Jackson Boulevard. Such crosswalk patterns are known as a "pedestrian scramble," and city officials are testing the design for several months in hopes it will be a traffic-calming measure between pedestrians and cars, the Tribune reports.

(See the Tribune's terrific photos of the new six-way crossing.)

“This new all-way crossing will improve the pedestrian environment and vehicular timing at this very busy downtown intersection,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein according to the Expired Meter. “Chicagoans and visitors will be able to cross on foot more quickly and safely while vehicular traffic is stopped.”

The scramble gives pedestrians a head start on cars and allows foot traffic in all directions rather than just four. For about 35 seconds every third light cycle, all vehicles, including bikes and buses, heading east on Jackson and north and south on State will stop completely. During normal cycles, pedestrians will cross in the traditional four-way pattern.

According to the Sun-Times, Klein said the intersection sees more than 41,600 pedestrians and 20,500 vehicles crossing a day making it the ideal testing ground for scramble.

Lest bus riders be slowed down by the scramble, the northbound #151 Sheridan and eastbound #130 Museum Campus buses will alter their routes to eliminate turns at this intersection, according to Streetsblog Chicago.

The design, already used in Japan, Los Angeles and D.C., is not a new concept despite its recent implementation in Chicago; the concept of scrambles is about 70 years old.

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