That's What They Call That? Scrambled Eggs
Crosswalks are more than just places to line up for an impromptu stop light drag race, they also serve an important function in pedestrian safety, and provide instruction for the slower Boy Scouts in gaining their granny-helping-across-the-street badge.
Usually, at a 4-way stop, the cross walks are a simple set of white lines with a central divider – like a street-corner tennis court – that allows for safe passage from one side of the street to the adjacent. But what if you need to get to the corner diagonally opposite? That would require you to cross on one light, and then wait for the cycle to switch to the other direction before making your move, which seems like a lot of wasted effort. But that’s not the case if you are lucky enough to live where the use diagonal crosswalks. And did you know there’s a special name for those? Well, there is.
Diagonal crosswalks are a boon to the pedestrian, and vexing to drivers who have to sit and rev their engines through a second light cycle before chripping their tires through the intersection in appropriate hoon fashion. The diagonal crosswalks give pedestrians full run of the intersection, unlike the traditional crossings which force them to just scuttle across the bi-directional lanes like car-less insects, dodging the occasional right-turning vehicle.
No, the diagonal crosswalk opens the entire crossing to pedestrians, allowing them to strut out into the center, and across to the side kitty-corner from them like they own the place. All the while, regular folk, who know that if you can’t drive, it’s not worth going, have to sit in their cars on all sides of the intersection while the lessor bipedals flaunt their usurpation of their betters’ domain.
The idea of the diagonal crosswalk was first tested in the 1940s in Kansas City Missouri. A similarly timed trial occurred in Vancouver BC, Canada- proving that it didn’t work on just Americans. Since then it has since expanded to most places where cars and pedestrians have an uneasy relationship on the roads- with the exception of Great Britain, where they just stick big, round planters in the middle of their intersections – but even the Brits are considering them.
Of course you can’t have a road feature like this without someone appending a goofy name to it, and as Wikipedia tells us, one proper term for the diagonal crosswalk is . Now, that does seem fitting, although it could also apply to what happens to the stragglers when they are left mid-intersection when the light changes and you drop the hammer as it’s your God-given right to slam through that intersection, because the green light tells you so.
Other names for the diagonal crossing are Barnes Dance, Scramble Crossings and Exclusive Pedestrian Phase, but they lack the hilarity that Pedestrian Scramble engenders in your somewhat macabre day dreams while waiting out the light.
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