'Pedestrian scramble' aims for safety between vehicles and pedestrians

ATLANTA — It’s called a pedestrian scramble, and the newest is in Midtown on the Georgia Tech campus.

"You can cross in any direction at 5th and Spring, to include diagonally, says Tech police officer William Rackley.

He's describing one of the newest ways traffic engineers hope will significantly cut-down on accidents between vehicles, and pedestrians/cyclists.

"For 15 seconds, pedestrians cross diagonally at every corner at the intersection. And then after that time frame has elapsed, we'll let the traffic light cycle," says Rackley. The intersection design is intended to allow vehicles to make turns without delays from pedestrians; in turn, those on foot would not be in danger of getting hit by a vehicle trying to turn.

The intersection of 5th and Spring is busy. It includes the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, Tech's business school nearby, along with retail and restaurants.

Officer Rackley says so far, so good. "We didn't anticipate it would be going this well this quickly...but we're getting a lot of positive feedback."

The pedestrian scramble, otherwise known by its technical name of 'exclusive pedestrian phase', is a 90-day pilot project. It's a collaboration between the Midtown Alliance and Georgia Tech. The school hopes this will be made permanent at the intersection.

There are only a handful of pedestrian scrambles. There are two others in use on the Georgia State campus in Atlanta, another along the Beltline, at Krog Street and DeKalb Avenue, and one other in Dunwoody, at North Shallowford at Dunwoody Park.

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