Banff, AB - Pedestrians will be walking in a whole new direction on Banff Avenue, starting as early as Wednesday, April 30, conditions permitting.
The Town is trialing scramble crosswalks at its three busiest intersections on Canada’s most iconic main street, Banff Avenue, at the Caribou Street, Wolf Street and Buffalo Street. Monitoring in 2012 showed that more than 5,000 pedestrians crossed Banff Avenue at Caribou Street during peak periods, compared to 1,800 vehicles.
Additional pedestrian lights and signs will be installed and line painting will occur the nights of April 28 and 29, weather permitting. Cold, wet weather will delay the launch.
Used extensively in Europe and Asia, scramble crosswalks are signalized intersections, with a pedestrian-exclusive phase. Every third light, all vehicles stop, allowing pedestrians to cross in all directions, even diagonally.
While scramble crosswalks promote the pedestrian experience, the trial is one of the recommendations of Banff’s recently adopted transportation masterplan as a means to alleviate traffic congestion. Monitoring showed that traffic backs up Banff Avenue, while turning cars wait for pedestrians to cross. With a scramble, pedestrians don’t impede traffic flow.
To increase safety, right turns on red will be prohibited, and flag people will be on hand for the first few days and the long weekend in May to guide pedestrians through the intersections appropriately.
Council is anticipated to review the impacts of the trial by September, to determine whether the scramble crosswalks become permanent.