Eyes on the Street: Diagonal Crosswalk Coming to State/Jackson?

New diagonal crossing signals at State/Jackson
The signal points to the center of the intersection. Photo: Kevin Zolkiewicz.

Kevin Zolkiewicz sent us these photos on Saturday showing the new pedestrian crossing signals pointing diagonally across the intersection of State Street and Jackson Boulevard, right outside DePaul University’s Loop campus. We’re waiting for confirmation from CDOT, but it looks like these signals are designed to work as part of an exclusive pedestrian phase — known as a pedestrian scramble or Barnes Dance — in which people on foot can cross the intersection in any direction. This treatment is common in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tokyo.

Kevin writes that there appear to be small speakers above the new signals. We have an inquiry in with CDOT to find out more about what’s happening.

New diagonal crossing signals at State/Jackson
The small speaker above a diagonal crossing signal. Photo: Kevin Zolkiewicz.

New diagonal crossing signals at State/Jackson
Photo: Kevin Zolkiewicz.
New diagonal crossing signals at State/Jackson
Photo: Kevin Zolkiewicz.
  • Adam Herstein

    This would be great if diagonal crossings were indeed being installed!

  • Bryan Cassidy

    These types of crossings would be useful in so many locations. Can’t wait to see more of these.

  • Neil Clingerman

    I can’t wait for one at North/Milwaukee/Damen in particular.

  • Joeg1985

    The speakers are for a signal for the blind. A little chirping noise. Are those not common in Chicago? I just realized I don’t think that I’ve noticed many of them since I moved here last summer.

  • I only know of one location where they’re used: Roosevelt and Wood, and that’s probably because the Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired is located a block over.

  • This is where a pedestrian scramble would legalize an oft-practiced (read: nearly every signal phases) crossing behavior at that intersection.

  • Jason

    They were doing striping today. As someone that lives within a block and a half of this intersection, this seems like a waste of money. Sure its a busy intersection but I can’t imagine being in such a hurry that you couldn’t wait for both lights.

  • Wait and see, my friend, wait and see…

  • Bryan Cassidy

    I agree. Just wait until you need to cross twice (and NOT have to anymore) and you will see the benefit of having these pedestrian scrambles. This will move people along much more efficiently than the traditional way. I think these are long over-due and can’t wait to see more. I have needed this for years!

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, you may have seen this in John’s “X Marks the Spot” piece that came later:

    “However, while many people have proposed implementing scrambles at
    bustling, chaotic six-way intersections like North/Damen/Milwaukee in
    Wicker Park, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. “I’m not sure
    something like this would work for that, because you have so many
    incoming lanes of traffic,” he [Gabe Klein] said. “However, reducing the number of turns may be something that we’ll learn from this that we could apply to some of these complicated intersections.”

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