Pedestrian Scramble

Ryan Darrow

I am standing at the corner of 5th Avenue and Charlotte Pike.

I have stood on this corner hundreds of times. I am a studious pedestrian and I always wait, kind of like a weirdo, whether there is traffic or not, at the intersection, patiently for the little man to light up and tell me it's time to move. I watch the traffic lights cycle. No little man. I watch the traffic lights cycle again. No little man.

I am waiting. Other people are not. Little man or no little man, they're booking it across the road. Some people are waiting with me, confused look on their face. Confusion turning to consternation. Consternation turning to incredulousness.

Suddenly, all the little men all the time are lit everywhere. I know what this is. I have heard of this. It's a fucking pedestrian scramble. And scramble I do. I walk diagonally, bravely and alone, across the intersection. I have the vague impression that others are looking at me and thinking I'm insane. This is reinforced by the fact that they continue to cross, first across one road following the crosswalk, and then across another road following the crosswalk.

I, of course, have left them in the dust.

So here is the problem. No one in Nashville knows what a pedestrian scramble is. This is not New York. This is new. I have no doubt that my fellow Nashvillians will get it with enough time. But why wait!? With a little planning, a little public relations, and some creativity we can explain this to everyone. How about let's not just switch the pedestrian crossing pattern with no warning or explanation.

I am but one man. I can help but a few. With some signage, we can help the masses. Let's get our public works education on people!