Two busy Coast Highway 101 intersections in downtown Encinitas got the green light last week for “scramble crossings” that will allow pedestrians to go in all directions at one time, even diagonally.
The proposed changes to the D and E street intersections will be similar to what’s been done in neighboring Carlsbad. Scramble crossings were added to two of Carlsbad Boulevard’s intersections—at Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue—in 2012.
“From everything I’ve heard, it works very well,” Encinitas Traffic Commission Chairman Peter Kohl said Thursday, Oct. 24.
Kohl attended the Wednesday, Oct. 23, City Council meeting, where the council voted 4-0, with Mayor Catherine Blakespear absent, to direct city staff to move forward with the scramble crossings and amend the city’s budget to add in the estimated $100,000 project expense. The money will pay for upgrading the traffic signals, adding signage and re-striping the roadway at D and E streets.
The two intersections were chosen because they’re heavily used by pedestrians and there have been conflicts among vehicles, walkers and cyclists there, Kohl said.
Sometimes referred to as “X crossings,” the new scramble crossing systems will stop vehicle traffic in all four directions at one time, so that pedestrians standing at the corners of an intersection can all cross at the same time and they can even go diagonally across the intersection.
The signals at the two intersections will be synchronized, so that drivers won’t be stuck first at one intersection and then immediately hit a red light at the second one, a city staff report notes.
Coast Highway is impacted during the peak morning and evening commuter periods, and the scramble crossing system may cause slight delays for vehicle traffic during those periods, the staff report continues. A study found that the “worst case scenario” for the D Street intersection during the morning commuter period would be an additional delay of 24 seconds, it states.
— Barbara Henry is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune