Everything old is new again.
I remember as a kid visiting my cousins in Cleveland. I think it was Cleveland; might have been Detroit.
But some of the intersections were what they called "do-si-do" intersections. The traffic lights would go red for all vehicle lanes in all directions for thirty seconds, and pedestrians could walk any which way they liked - one side of the street to the other, or diagonally across the intersection.
Must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
My understanding is that the concept originated in Kansas City around 1940, then spread to various other U.S. cities, including, presumably, Cleveland and/or Detroit.
To my knowledge, no U.S. cities, certainly none that I have been in since, well, I was a kid, use the concept now. I can only imagine that is because it didn't work.
Either traffic got Major League snarled, pedestrians got mowed down like so many bowling pins, or both.
But the City of Toronto feels they have whatever those problems may have been licked, because yesterday, Yonge and Dundas became a do-si-do corner.
Or, as they have chosen to call it a, "scramble" corner.
"Scramble"? Doesn't that sort-of imply a high degree of energy? Rapid, almost panicky movement, as in jet fighter pilots scrambling to intercept the enemy?
Not sure that's the image they should be wanting to communicate.
Not to mention what one does to eggs.
I hope that isn't what happens to pedestrians at Yonge and Dundas.
Apparently, pedestrians at the intersection yesterday were somewhat confused by the new approach. The City had guides in orange vests helping people cross the street. You'd have thought some enterprising Boy Scout troop would get out there - they could have dusted off a month's worth of good deeds in a couple of hours.
Motorists also had some trouble figuring it out. Some nudged their way into the no-drive zone, only to be reprimanded by uniformed police officers. At least they weren't out running radar.
I haven't been down there yet, but I can only imagine that right turns on the red would have to be banned in order for this to have half a chance of working.
If it "works", and I am not sure what criteria city planners will use to make that determination, the scramble intersection idea will proliferate.
I guess we'll just have to wait and - scramble.