Sunday, November 14, 2010

Diagonal Crosswalks

I came upon this video about diagonal crosswalks on the site recently, about the addition of some diagonal crosswalks in Los Angeles:

Diagonal crosswalks are pretty self explanatory: When created at a four-way intersection, they create one big crosswalk in the intersection instead of the standard four crosswalks at each side of the intersection. This type of crosswalk works well in areas with a lot of foot and bike traffic. In addition to decreasing travel times for pedestrians, the biggest advantage of diagonal crosswalks is that they eliminate turning traffic which makes things safer for everybody.

These types of crosswalks are seen in some bigger cities in America (New York, San Francisco, etc) and around the world (Tokyo comes to mind). Is there anywhere in little old Portland that would benefit from this type of crosswalk? I could definitely see it working at several intersections along Commercial Street, which is already a pedestrian friendly area. Congress Street would be another logical area, perhaps at Congress Square or Monument Square. Feel free to comment with your ideas.


  1. Interesting idea, but I can't think of any real intersections in town that are both large and get enough dense foot traffic to warrant the change. Franklin and Commercial isn't really a candidate, even with all of the cruise-ship traffic in the fall; most people cross from the SE corner to the SW corner and continue onto the S side of Commercial toward the waterfront, and eventually trickle up the hill to the Old Port.

    I lived for a year in Tokyo and worked in Shibuya, which has a giant diagonal crossing (Hachiko Square) near the train/subway station. That made sense because over a thousand people cross the intersection at every light change during the day and even at night.

  2. Any intersection with a signal that has a dedicated pedestrian phase effectively has a diagonal crosswalk. When all vehicular traffic is stopped pedestrians can cross any way they want to.

    A couple of intersections in Portland with this feature are Congress/Brown and Commercial/Center.



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