Yesterday afternoon, council announced its latest salvo in the war on the car: Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong is calling for the city to examine the impact of the scramble intersection at the corner of Yonge and Dundas streets.
The Toronto Sun has the details:
Introduced by the city in 2008, the Yonge and Dundas pedestrian scramble, or a “Barnes Dance,” allowed pedestrians to cross the intersection diagonally once every signal cycle by giving car traffic in all directions a red light. Scramble intersections have since been installed at Yonge and Bloor Sts. and Bay and Bloor Sts.
Although city staff are reviewing all three scramble intersections already, Minnan-Wong said a consultant’s review is needed given the fact some councillors and residents want to introduce more scramble intersections.
Minnan-Wong is concerned about increased traffic delays resulting from the scramble. According to one study co-authored by a city official, delays for motorists at Yonge and Dundas became, at times, 175 per cent longer after the scramble was introduced. But the intersection also sees 58,000 pedestrians over a typical eight-hour weekday period, compared with 36,000 vehicles. Sure, those 36,000 vehicles could work out to more than 58,000 people, but even so, the intersection seems as good as any as to prioritize pedestrian traffic (for more numbers, check out the Toronto Star’s reporting). Clearly, Minnan-Wong isn’t factoring pedestrians into his definition of “traffic.”
Another thing Minnan-Wong isn’t factoring into his calculations is fellow councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam—even though the intersection is smack dab in the middle of her ward. According to the Sun, she was “shocked by the sudden review of the intersection.” If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Minnan-Wong was also behind the push to remove the Jarvis bike lane, a project he didn’t address with Wong-Tam, despite the lane running right through her ward.
• Ford ally asks for review of Yonge-Dundas ‘scramble’ [Toronto Star]
• Scramble intersections under city scrutiny [Toronto Sun]
• Results from the Pedestrian Priority Phase Project at Yonge/Dundas [Toronto Pedestrian Committee]
• Innovative traffic signal in Toronto being re-evaluated [Globe and Mail]