New pedestrian scramble debuts at busy S.F. Chinatown intersection

Pedestrians cross at the intersection of Kearny and Jackson streets in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, November 3, 2022. (Photo by Jerold Chinn)

While pedestrian scrambles are rare to see in most parts of San Francisco, city officials last week activated Chinatown’s second pedestrian scramble in five years.

The newest pedestrian scramble, located at the intersection of Kearny and Jackson streets, was part of a package of pedestrian improvements in District 3 funded by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency designed and constructed the scramble.

The activation took place Thursday with District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, SFCTA Executive Director Tilly Chang and SFMTA Streets Director Tom Maguire, along with Chinatown community members.

At a pedestrian scramble, vehicle traffic is stopped in all directions as pedestrians are crossing the street — even diagonally. A few of them can be found in the Financial District and in Chinatown.

Landy Dong, a member of the Chinatown Transportation Research and Improvement Project (TRIP), said TRIP has been working on getting scrambles in Chinatown to improve pedestrian safety.

“We wanted to see the pedestrians able to cross with no conflicts with cars,” Dong said.

The SFMTA activated a scramble in 2017 at Kearny and Clay streets, just two blocks from where the agency activated the newest addition to the scramble family.

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Award-winning transportation journalist based in San Francisco.

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Jerold Chinn

Award-winning transportation journalist based in San Francisco.