Aloha pedestrian priority

In the above pic from Hawaii, the road parallel to the beach is one way for motorists from right to left across the top of the picture. They can turn onto the one way street extending downwards to the right, only on the green. There is no turn on red.

When the motorists have a green light, they can go straight ahead or turn to their left; peds have a red light. When the cars have a red, peds have a green to cross in all directions, including diagonally. No diagonally crossing peds are shown in this picture, but I saw lots of them in the time it took to consume a beer and plate of nachos.

So how would Ottawa handle this situation? First, no diagonal crossing: pedestrian desire lines must be thwarted at all times. Second, can anyone image the all-ped-green vs all-car-green signal cycle in Ottawa? What is more likely here is that both motorists and pedestrians would have the same green light cycle for the alignment parallel the beach, and left turning vehicles would have to thread / bully their way through the crossing pedestrians. Then the cars would have a red light, while peds got a green one to cross (straight line now!) towards the beach. The resulting mixing of peds and cars and buses is unsafe. The solution used in Hawaii was simple and effective. Has anyone seen such signalling employed in Ottawa? in Ontario?

7 thoughts on “Aloha pedestrian priority

  1. Yup – Toronto's had a scramble (or Barnes Dance) intersection trial at Yonge and Dundas for the last 18 months (assuming it's still in place). can also name you an example where Ottawa has given (some) priority to pedestrians (which I'm surprised you haven't previously noted here). The intersection of Wellington and Holland has been updated so that (a) there's no right turn on red during the day (7am-6pm?), and (b) the traffic green light is delayed in both directions. This means that there is an extended period where both cross streets have a red light, and the pedestrians have a walk signal, albeit only in one direction – it does allow pedestrians into the crosswalk before drivers can legally* start to turn.* I was almost hit by a truck turning from Wellington onto Holland through a red light, without stopping, and obviously oblivious to the pedestrian traffic. This doesn't seem atypical for Ottawa, though.

  2. Ottawa has other intersections where peds get a jump on cars. For eg, at Laurier by Minto Place too many cars cut off peds, so the ped light gets people into the intersection ahead of cars. I had noticed the no right turn at Holland, and its a welcome first step in getting a total urban ban on right turns on red. But the ped jump on cars can be dangerous: just on wed night walking back from loblaws at that intersction, peds entered the crosswalks and got about quarter way across before the westbound traffic light turned green, but impatient motorists including one black pickup and a car went thru the intersection on the red, too impatient to wait for the green. I expect we will see more of that when the first bike boxes appear at intersections: will motorists wait behind the box or move into it like so many too at Albert/Empress bus box??thanks for reading and commenting,Eric

  3. I'd love to see that implemented along Kent at all intersections North of Laurier. I've nearly been hit so many time crossing those intersections with the walk signal that now I have to employ some serious defensive walking techniques. I've noticed that Gatineau's changed the pedestrian signalling at Maisonneuve/Portage/Laurier. Not so much as to give pedestrians priority (the cars get their right turns first) but rather to minimize the conflict between cars and pedestrians. It's a huge intersection with a good number of pedestrians and cyclists during rush hour.I'm not sure if all of Toronto's scrambles are still in place… when we were down in October I saw the remnants of one near our hotel, but it had been converted back into a regular intersection. Or maybe I'm mistaken and it was a do-not-block-intersection paint job that had been paved over…

  4. Not in Ontario, but scramble lights are all up and down Montgomery St. in the Financial District of San Francisco. There's a *lot* of pedestrians there, and it only makes sense. I haven't seen nearly that many pedestrians at any intersection in Ottawa, or even Toronto, for that matter.

  5. The "scramble" or diagonal walking feature wasn't the primary attraction of this intersection for me. I guess I was really unclear in my post. The forward moving vehicles got their own green, and did not mangle with peds as they turned. Then the peds got their own light, with no turning cars. This signal phasing is totally different from what we see in Ottawa… are there any intersections where vehicles on a one way street turning onto another one way street at a T-intersection (ie, no cross traffic) are restricted from running through lines of pedestrians? For a similar situation, it would have to be Wellington in front of Parliament or maybe Sussex along the market… I very much liked the way Honalulu phased the intersection to prevent cars from turning through lines of peds.

  6. The ped first signals at Holland are simply too short. They should be extended. Controlling impatient motorists is an enforcement issue and we'll have to hold our breath on that one.

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