‘Scramble’ Intersections in Walnut Creek Seek to Increase Pedestrian Safety

intersection screen shot4Walnut Creek residents won’t just be scrambling to get those last-minute holiday gifts this year – they’ll be scrambling through the streets of downtown Walnut Creek as well. Two new intersections – known as “scrambles” – opened last week, one at Olympic Boulevard and South Main Street, and the second at Olympic Boulevard and Locust Street. The intersections are intended to decrease the number of pedestrian accidents by altering existing traffic light cycles.

According to California Highway Patrol statistics for 2012, pedestrian accidents (including bicyclists) resulted in 849 deaths statewide, with another 34,516 pedestrians suffering injuries. During that same year, 52 Walnut Creek pedestrians and bicyclists were killed or injured in pedestrian accidents, placing Walnut Creek 31st and 70th, respectively, out of 102 cities with similar populations.

Walnut Creek ‘Scramble’ Intersections to Allow for Diagonal Crossing

The new scramble intersections aim to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street, particularly when pedestrians are crossing while vehicles are making legal right hand turns. An added bonus of the scramble intersections is allowing slightly more time for vehicles and pedestrians to travel through the intersection.

The scramble intersections, which are used in other parts of the country, are the first in Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County. The Olympic Boulevard locations were chosen not because they are the most dangerous intersections in Walnut Creek, nor the most heavily trafficked, but because they are the best candidates to try out the new system.

Each scramble intersection now has three different signal cycles:

  • North/South Traffic: Vehicles traveling north/south will get a green light telling them to go. East/West traffic is stopped, including those vehicles which would normally be permitted to make right-hand turns, and no pedestrians are able to cross during this light.
  • East/West Traffic: Vehicles traveling east/west get a green light telling them to go. North/South traffic, including vehicles making right-hand turns, is stopped, and no pedestrians are able to cross.
  • Pedestrian Traffic: Red lights stop traffic in all directions, allowing only pedestrians (including pedestrians walking their bicycles) to cross the intersection. Pedestrians may cross not only in the traditional north/south and east/west directions, but diagonally as well.

Signs posted at the intersection help explain the new traffic cycles to passengers and motorists. The city hopes that by installing the scrambles now, pedestrians and motorists will become accustomed to the new traffic patterns before the holiday shopping season hits.

While designed to make crossing safer for pedestrians, the new scramble intersections cannot completely prevent against accidents caused by pedestrians crossing against the light or caused by vehicles running red lights or jumping the intersection.

Walnut Creek Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident in Walnut Creek or the surrounding Bay Area, the Appel Law Firm LLP can help. Our pedestrian accident attorneys have more than 60 combined years’ experience handling personal injury and wrongful death claims that result from pedestrian accidents. You may be entitled to compensatory or even punitive damages as a result of your injuries. Our Walnut Creek office is conveniently located near the WC BART station. Contact our Walnut Creek office today at 888-527-0674, or send us an email via our online web form, to schedule your free consultation.

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