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Scramble crosswalk a reality

  • [Scramble Crosswalk Opens]
    Queen's University students crowd the intersection as the scramble crosswalk is activated for the first time.
  • [Scramble Crosswalk Opens]
    Matt Kussin, Municipal Affairs Commissioner for the AMS, stands between Mayor Bryan Paterson and Coun. Peter Stroud.
  • [Scramble Crosswalk Opens]
    Students line up behind a ribbon as they await the first official crossing using the new scramble crosswalk at Union Street and University Avenue.
  • [Scramble Crosswalk Opens]
    Mayor Bryan Paterson helps officially open the scramble crossing at the intersection of Union Street and University Avenue.
  • [Scramble Crosswalk Opens]
    Peter Stroud, councillor for Sydenham Ward, crosses the intersection of Union Street and University Avenue.

The scramble crosswalk at the intersection of Union Street and University Avenue was officially activated on Monday at 10 am, turning a project championed by the Alma Mater Society (AMS), and included in Queen’s University’s 2014 Campus Master Plan, into a reality.

Matt Kussin, Municipal Affairs Commissioner for the AMS, says the scramble crossing was a collaborative effort between the AMS and city council.

Pedestrian safety and efficiency was paramount throughout the effort, he explains.

“We saw a need for pedestrian prioritization at the intersection. Over 1,000 people use this intersection as a pedestrian in a given 15-minute period. As such, pedestrian safety and efficiency needed to be at the forefront of improvements to the intersection,” Mr. Kussin says. “Considering the majority of those pedestrians are Queen’s students, the AMS advocated for these changes on their behalf.”

The AMS initially took up the issue of developing the intersection into the City of Kingston’s first scramble crossing in December 2014. Mr. Kussin says his predecessor Ariel Aguilar Gonzalez brought up the idea of a scramble crossing with Coun. Jim Neill, who then introduced a motion to look into the feasibility. City council approved its construction in June.

Dozens of students showed up for Monday’s event with the AMS, as well as Mayor Bryan Paterson and Coun. Stroud, and excitedly took to the diagonal crossing for the first time.

“We’re happy to have received such an overwhelmingly positive response from students,” Mr. Kussin says. “We are also very appreciative that city staff were able to complete the project before the majority of students return. To see the transition from idea to reality in a matter of months has been truly remarkable.”

The intersection also received upgrades to improve accessibility including audible crossing signals, accessible curbs and yellow warning bumper mats embedded into the sidewalk near the curbs.

The following is from the City of Kingston's guide on how to use a scramble crossing:

Pedestrians

When the walk signal is displayed in all directions, pedestrians and those using mobility devices can cross to any corner – even diagonally. This is indicated by the diagonal crosswalk markings and all-directions walk signals at the corners of Union Street and University Avenue.

Pedestrians may still cross in the direction of traffic when vehicles have a green light and motorists making a left turn or right turn must still yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk as usual.
This intersection also has buttons that allow visually-impaired people to activate sounds that offer crossing guidance.

Cyclists

Cyclists must dismount and walk their bicycles if they want to cross on the pedestrian priority/scramble signal. Cyclists who do not dismount their bicycles are legally considered vehicles and must obey vehicular traffic signals (see motorists section), including the right-turn-on-red ban. The Share the Road Guide offers more detailed guidance to cyclists and motorists.

Motorists

It is important for motorists to know that the scramble crossing mean that pedestrians have priority at Union Street and University Avenue. Motorists are not permitted to proceed in any direction during the scramble crossing – when the all-direction walk signal and all-direction red traffic signals are displayed. Motorists should expect increased delays at the intersection since the red lights  will be longer in order to accommodate the pedestrian priority/scramble crossing.

When the green light is displayed, motorists can proceed as usual and travel straight through the intersection or turn left or right when safe to do so.