Can't go to Tokyo due to the pandemic? Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has brought a small aspect of the Japanese city to our capital city.
DBKL has introduced a new pedestrian scramble in Bukit BIntang, the heart of Kuala Lumpur
The pedestrian scramble, also known as X-crossing or Barnes Dance, was opened for public usage on Saturday, 19 June.
Based on photos posted by the city council, X-shaped yellow crossing lines were painted between Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail, resembling the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.
DBKL said the new all-direction pedestrian crossing was introduced to improve walkability in the high-traffic pedestrian area.
"The change is to ensure convenience and safety for pedestrians are guaranteed at the location. This change allows pedestrians to cross the street in all directions simultaneously and optimise the total time needed to cross," the city council wrote in a Facebook post.
The Star quoted DBKL as saying that the crossing was introduced after a detailed study. Other than making it easier for pedestrians to cross the streets in the busy office and shopping area, it also aims to reduce the risk of accidents.
The pedestrian scramble is not a traffic solution unique to Shibuya. Closer to home in Singapore, Orchard Road also has a pedestrian scramble as well.
The same type of crossing can be found in many population-dense cities around the world too, such as New York City, London, and Ontario.
According to Treehugger, an information site dedicated to promoting sustainability, pedestrian scrambles date back to the late 1940s when they first appeared in Kansas City and Vancouver.
Traffic engineer Henry Barnes popularised the traffic solution at the time — that is how it got its name 'Barnes Dances', as "Barnes has made the people so happy they're dancing in the streets".
Japan has over 300 pedestrian scrambles. At Shibuya Crossing, 3,000 people are able to cross the road at one go when the lights turn green for pedestrians.