Greater City Providence

Los Scramb-geles

Back in August I posted about pedestrian scrambles. A pedestrian scramble is an intersection where all the lights turn red and pedestrians are allowed to cross in all directions, including diagonally.

Now, StreetFilms shows us pedestrian scrambles going back into action in L.A.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Feel free to post your list here, we can take a crack at stating what needs to change at them.

  • Thanks Jeff. I guess I would expand on my previous comment by saying that although it might be interesting to try a scramble here, I would like to first go after the intersections that don’t seem to provide pedestrians any accommodation. One that comes immediately to mind is place where Westminster ends at the McVinney Auditorium. (is that the right name?) I travel that route quite often. Walkers are given no help what so ever, not even any suggestion as to what they are to do. Those access roads are speedways as well. Most of the people walking through there are high school students going to and from Kennedy Plaza, to them I think it is just one more example of the disregard they face everyday, given the state of Central and Classical high schools.

  • Oh yes, Westminster at the Service Road, ugh. As if it was not bad enough that the auditorium breaks the block, once you find your way around, you are stuck on the east side of the street with no way to cross.

    Another problem at the Service Road (and other areas of the city) is that the pedestrian lights are often set at one-way streets as if they were two-way streets. Broadway at the west side Service Road for example: When trying to cross the Service Road on the north side of Broadway, Broadway westbound turns green before Broadway eastbound, allowing westbound traffic to turn left. While this cycle is happening, traffic on the Service Road is stopped, so the light on the north side of Broadway should allow pedestrians to cross. However the walk signal stays red until both directions of Broadway are green. The walk signal assumes that Broadway is also turning left onto the one-way Service Road.

    As for the Service Roads themselves, indeed they are basically extensions of the highway on the surface. In my opinion they should be no more than two travel lanes (no road in the city should have more than two travel lanes in a given direction) and the third lane should be made into metered on-street parking. Eventual development should be built to the street so that the Service Roads begin to feel and act as city streets. And can we give them names? I know parts of the east side one are called Franklin Street. The west side one needs a name, Patriarca Way?

    And no worries about the ‘f.’

  • I’m with ya on all counts. Foot traffic is clearly an afterthought at best, and holdovers from the 1970’s are bad enough, but we keep seeing the same mistakes (and new ones)getting made.
    As for naming the access roads, the RI Monthly campaign to have one named after itself notwithstanding, a hand made sign that popped up on Silver Spring St. opposite the Walmart makes for a good suggestion — how about “slow the hell down!” Blvd.?

    I’ll put up a photo of that sign soon. I love that kind of stuff.

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