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Scramble crosswalk in downtown Duncan ends

Many in the city were opposed to changed intersection
The pedestrian-scramble crosswalk at Ingram Street and Canada Avenue that was set up for a trial run in September will be discontinued. (Citizen file photo)

The City of Duncan’s pedestrian-scramble crosswalk at Ingram Street and Canada Avenue, set up for a trial run in September, will be discontinued.

It will be replaced with a protected left-turn only signal for southbound traffic on Canada Avenue turning left onto Ingram Street, which the city believes will still improve pedestrian safety over the previous signal timing.

The city’s committee of the whole made the decision at its meeting in April, and directed staff to obtain cost estimates for the alternate-signal timing.


CAO Peter de Verteuil told city council at its meeting on May 6 that, in the meantime, five seconds of unnecessary intersection clearance time was identified during the trial run of the pedestrian-scramble crossing, and this has been eliminated from the timing cycles at the intersection.

“Based on observations, this appears to have made a significant impact to the overall performance of the intersection,” he said.

“Staff continue to monitor the performance of the intersection on a regular basis. Traffic volumes vary significantly from week to week.”

A pedestrian-scramble crossing, also known as a diagonal crossing or X-Crossing, is a type of traffic signal movement that temporarily stops all vehicle traffic from all directions, allowing pedestrians to cross an intersection in every direction, including diagonally, during a dedicated time phase that is for pedestrians only.


The primary purpose for changing traffic and pedestrian patterns from a traditional crossing to a scramble-pedestrian crossing at the intersection was to increase pedestrian safety after many near-misses, and actual collisions, between drivers and pedestrians there.

But Brian Murphy, Duncan’s director of public works and engineering said in a report that the scramble crossing has received predominantly negative feedback from those who have completed an online survey on it.

“The majority of the negative feedback is from drivers, although some pedestrians also feel the scramble crossing is not appropriate for a city of Duncan’s size,” he said.

“As it was clearly known that the scramble crossing would cause vehicle delays through the intersection, it is not surprising that drivers with negative opinions are the ones who completed the online survey the most frequently.”

Murphy offered council a number of options, and members decided at the COW meeting that they prefer the protected left turn only signal from Canada Avenue to Ingram Street scenario, which is estimated to cost between $15,000 to $20,000.

But he said no matter which option was chosen, staff are still predicting traffic queues forming that will extend on Ingram Street back past Craig Street at peak times.

“This means that, at times, there will still be backups on Ingram Street that will delay traffic that is attempting to exit from Craig Street,” Murphy said.

“But this is no different than what is currently being experienced with the scramble crossing.”