This week, we are taking suggestions from readers on which intersections they would like converted to allow pedestrians to cross simultaneously in all directions.
One example: The cobblestone intersection at First Avenue and Pike Street, one of the city’s most foot-trafficked areas next to the historic Pike Place Market.
Another: The Junction in West Seattle, at the corner of Alaska Street and California Avenue. Other all-way walk intersections are located elsewhere in downtown, the University District and North Beacon Hill.
This week, Traffic Lab wants to know where else you think the city should allow people at all corners of an intersection to cross simultaneously, sometimes diagonally.
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Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may feature your response in an upcoming story.
Richard Puffert, who lives in West Seattle, recently contacted us to describe what he believes are the benefits of The Junction’s all-way walk intersection. He said he uses it frequently as a pedestrian and driver, occasionally working for Uber and Lyft.
Traffic seems to move and walkers are better protected from cars, he said.
These types of intersections have had mixed results in other cities since they first started showing up decades ago, according to The Atlantic’s City Lab. The famous traffic engineer Henry Barnes popularized the signaling system in the 1950s and 1960s while serving as street commissioner for cities that included Denver and New York City.
A news story at that time said the change “made the people so happy they’re dancing in the streets,” according to Barnes’ autobiography. City planners worldwide copied the idea, calling it “The Barnes Dance.”
But the crossing systems can create timing problems and traffic messes among cars and transit. Denver reconfigured its Barnes Dance intersections in 2011 so people can no longer cross diagonally, The Denver Post reported.
Toronto launched its first Barnes Dance crossing in 2008, London built diagonal crossings in Wood Green in 2010, and a number of U.S. cities are reintroducing the design, according to City Lab.
Look for our upcoming report on all-way walk intersections — and where you would like to see them locally. We look forward to hearing from you.