How would you like your intersection? Scrambled, please.

Yonge and Dundas debuted as Toronto’s first scrambled intersection today.  In a nutshell, traffic comes to a stop in all directions, and pedestrians go nuts for 30 seconds, going any which way, including diagonally.

I first saw these in Montreal and as a driver, I was pretty annoyed.  Especially for someone who values efficiency, I felt that having all directions of traffic stop was pretty…well, inefficient.  I understand that it’s safe and quick for pedestrians, since cars are not allowed to make right turns.  However, Toronto’s true infrastructure problems lie in vehicle, not pedestrian traffic.

At any given intersection in downtown Toronto, right turns on greens are heavily hindered by pedestrians, even when everyone is abiding the signals.  Tack on an additional 30 seconds when cars are not moving at all, and feeder intersections leading up to Yonge-Dundas will make the queue to the scrambler ever longer.

Perhaps pedestrians are ONLY permitted to cross during the scramble light.  Then green-light-right-turns will be much smoother, and I will support this development.  I guess it will take me a few weeks to figure it out, since I’m a big fan of the suburbs and avoid Toronto if possible.

Verdict: To be decided.

UPDATE: I finally drove in the dreaded area, and I realized that both Yonge and Dundas have a strict no-turning rule for all vehicles in all directions at all times.  That means no backed up traffic due to right-turners.  The only problem are the idiot drivers that try to turn right anyway.  Well, there’s nothing we can do about those people.
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