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No Matter What You Call It, Chinatown Is Testing It

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By Stephanie Kaye

D.C.'s Department of Transportation is trying out a new traffic pattern for people getting around on foot this morning. It's called the "pedestrian scramble" in Chinatown.

If you find yourself at the intersection of 7th and H Streets Northwest this morning, you could wind up as part of the "scramble," also called a "Barnes Dance," named for Henry Barnes, a traffic commissioner who was the first to popularize it in the 1950s. Barnes also served as traffic commissioner in Baltimore.

But this "Barnes Dance" brings new pedestrian traffic lights and painted markings to downtown D.C. With automobile traffic stopped in all directions, the scramble will allow people to cross the intersection diagonally in every direction.

DDOT says this new traffic flow model makes busy city roads more walker-friendly, allowing people to "cut corners," walking within double white lines that run through the middle of an intersection to the corner on the far side.

The 7th and H Street scramble is scheduled to be tested today at 10 a.m.

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