The Queen Street Barnes Dance is a joy to use. The Barnes Dance, AKA – pedestrian scramble is an intersection design from the 1940’s that has since fallen out of favour with both traffic engineers and even urban nerds like Jeff Speck who cautions that only big cities with pedestrian crowding should use them:
The Barnes Dance was introduced to avoid conflicts between turning vehicles and pedestrians in crosswalks, another example of “pedestrian safety” being used as as an excuse to limit pedestrian convenience in the service of traffic flow.
The Queen Street Barnes Dance is in a league of its own. With such heavy pedestrian demand the scramble phase has been doubled through the typical signal timing cycle, making it highly useful for people walking, especially if their movement is diagonal. Increasingly, the scrambles or dedicated pedestrian phases are being used around other intersections in the CBD. You may stumble upon them accidently and eventually realise their use, or maybe you’ve stepped off a corner and had a close call with a bus.
For a little holiday fun, here’s a contest to see if you know your Barnes Dance/Pedestrian Scramble/Dedicated cycle. Likely you will be guessing since there is a very little indication on the ground. For the record I am guessing on at least two of them.
A. QUEEN ST – Is this a Barnes Dance
B. Karangahape Road / Mercury Lane
C. Queen Street / Quay Street
D. Symonds Street / Grafton Road
E. Symonds Street
F. Karangahape Rd/ Symonds St
Of course the takeaway is that there are many simple ways to better demarcate both pedestrian crossings generally and Barnes Dances specifically.