Traffic Signal at Georgia and Seymour
That’s right, a traffic light. With a big oversized green arrow at the bottom. At what I’ve long considered one of the most chaotic intersections in downtown, the corner of Seymour and Georgia.
For those not in the know, this is the corner where Highway 99 northbound takes a sharp turn leftward to make its way down Georgia toward the Lion’s Gate Bridge. What this means is that almost half the traffic turning left at the intersection was always simply “passing through” — on the way from Washngton State to Whistler, or the airport to the North Shore, or what have you.
Unfortunately, this corner also marks one of the heaviest foot traffic routes from southern downtown to the Granville St SkyTrain station, and usually hails a mob of pedestrians standing in front of the Scotiabank Tower every morning waiting to cross toward The Bay.
And what was the city’s previous strategy for making sure these two groups didn’t collide?
1. When the northbound light initially turns green, pedestrians have a Don’t Walk sign, and after about half the duration of this Don’t Walk period, the first car in the left turn lane finally realizes it has sort of an implicit right of way, and guns it into the intersection.
2. After about a 15 second delay, the pedestrian signal changes to Walk, so with no indication or warning whatsoever to the long line of cars squealing their way around the corner while the light is still green, all the pedestrians in the sidewalk inexplicably step into the street all at once, causing the turning cars and trucks to come squealing to a halt, lest they mow someone down.
But what’s this? A green arrow to indicate to the cars when it’s safe to turn? And it actually turns yellow as a warning before the pedestrians enter the intersection?
You mean it was this easy?