What is a scramble crossing?

Pedestrian priority crossings – commonly referred to as scramble crossings – can operate at intersections that have a high number of pedestrians in all directions. The intersection of Union Street and University Avenue is a key crossing area for Queen's University which has more than 24,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors. More than 2000 pedestrians an hour cross at this intersection throughout the busiest part of the weekday.

Starting this September, this intersection will become a pedestrian priority/scramble crossing.

Pedestrian priority crossings give priority to the crossing needs of people on foot (and those using mobility devices). They are often called scramble crossings because of the way they allow pedestrians to scramble across the intersection in any direction on the all-directions walk signal.

The scramble signal at Union and University will operate 24/7 and will stop vehicular traffic in all directions during the scramble phase. 

In order to further improve pedestrian safety, vehicles will not be permitted to make a right turn on a red light at any time at this intersection.

How to use a scramble crossing


When the walk signal is displayed in all directions, pedestrians and those using mobility devices can cross to any corner – even diagonally. This is indicated by the diagonal crosswalk markings and all-directions walk signals at the corners of Union Street and University Avenue.

Pedestrians may still cross in the direction of traffic when vehicles have a green light and motorists making a left turn or right turn must still yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk as usual.

This intersection also has buttons that allow visually-impaired people to activate sounds that offer crossing guidance.


Cyclists must dismount and walk their bicycles if they want to cross on the pedestrian priority/scramble signal. Cyclists who do not dismount their bicycles are legally considered vehicles and must obey vehicular traffic signals (see motorists section), including the right-turn-on-red ban. The Share the Road Guide offers more detailed guidance to cyclists and motorists.


It is important for motorists to know that the scramble crossing mean that pedestrians have priority at Union Street and University Avenue.

Motorists are not permitted to proceed in any direction during the scramble crossing – when the all-direction walk signal and all-direction red traffic signals are displayed. Motorists should expect increased delays at the intersection since the red lights  will be longer in order to accommodate the pedestrian priority/scramble crossing.

When the green light is displayed, motorists can proceed as usual and travel straight through the intersection or turn left or right when safe to do so.