Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, Sept. 22

Editorial: Downtown scramble requires patience

The City of Prescott's kick-off of its pedestrian scramble at the downtown corner of Gurely and Montezuma attracted a crowd Tuesday morning, including a number of city officials. Here, Mayor Greg Mengarelli, left, Tyler Goodman, assistant to the city manager, and others try the new diagonal option. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

The City of Prescott's kick-off of its pedestrian scramble at the downtown corner of Gurely and Montezuma attracted a crowd Tuesday morning, including a number of city officials. Here, Mayor Greg Mengarelli, left, Tyler Goodman, assistant to the city manager, and others try the new diagonal option. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

Part of downtown Prescott is going through some changes that appear to be good. The change will require some patience, though.

People walk across the street, back and forth – but, at one intersection, also diagonally.

A two-week test, called a “pedestrian scramble,” has been underway since Tuesday, Sept. 10, allowing pedestrians at the intersection of Gurley and Montezuma streets to cross at a certain time in any direction they wish.

Instead of walking across Montezuma, then crossing Gurley, people can walk diagonally to reach the opposite corner.

The idea actually is to move traffic more efficiently.

For instance, one of the issues for the city has been a bottleneck of northbound traffic on Whiskey Row as right- and left-turning cars wait for pedestrians crossing from one side of Gurley to the other.

Now, under the scramble, while pedestrians are crossing, right- and left-turning cars have to wait. But the crossing period should clear out the pedestrians, allowing for more traffic flow.

On one hand, pedestrians will have to wait longer for their chance to cross the street. On the other, drivers will have to wait as pedestrians clear from the intersection.

At any time the two shall not mix.

The question is which causes more wait time? The current configuration or the new diagonal, walk-don’t-walk concept?

Mayor Greg Mengarelli said, “For pedestrians, it will be a little longer wait.” But he and other city officials pointed out that the diagonal-crossing option should save pedestrians time.

It is a new traffic configuration that first surfaced from the city’s Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Advisory Committee. The change is not all about traffic. Keeping the walking-public safe is paramount.

It is merely change. Something different.

What we like is city officials, committee members and the public trying something new.

Watch dCourier.com and The Daily Courier for a report on acceptance, challenges and successes.

We’re optimistic.

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