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I don’t understand how the pedestrian scramble at Yonge and Dundas saves time

Dear Urban Decoder: I don’t understand how the pedestrian scramble at Yonge and Dundas saves time. Can you explain?—Graham Vaughan, Willowdale

According to traffic engineers at the giant clam, it’s more about life saving than time saving. By eliminating right turns on reds, scramble intersections—in which vehicular traffic is stopped in all directions, giving pedestrians leave to cross however they want—apparently reduce car-ped collisions by up to 50 per cent. Makes sense, except that in the case of Yonge and Dundas, right turns during red lights were already prohibited. So why did the powers that be choose that crossroads to kick off the scramble sensation? “It’s the city’s most pedestrian-heavy intersection,” explains urban traffic control systems manager Bruce Zvaniga, “and the scramble provides them with a greater level of comfort.” So basically, the Yonge and Dundas scramble serves to make pavement pounders feel warm, fuzzy, footloose and fancy free, while making Toronto feel like a world class city. Just not a terribly sensible one.

Wondering about the waterfront? Curious about construction? Perplexed by politics? Ask the Urban Decoder a question here.

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