Pedestrians near the Student Union Building at Boise State University can soon start dancing. In the street.
Ada County Highway District crews installed a so-called Barnes Dance intersection Wednesday where University Blvd. and Lincoln St. meet.
New painted markings on the ground show the way to go: which is, anyway. Instead of traditional walk cycles for pedestrians that match the traffic pattern, a Barnes Dance reserves a separate cycle just for those on foot. Pedestrians can cross either street, or go at a diagonal.
The Barnes Dance – or “scramble,” first popped up in the 1940s. But a traffic engineer in Denver named Henry Barnes pushed the idea forward, according to CityLab.
“The dance got its name when a city hall reporter wrote that the crossings ‘made the people so happy they’re dancing in the streets,'” CityLab reported.
Downtown Boise used to also have a Barnes Dance intersection at the corner of 8th St. and Idaho St. The scramble was removed when the Capital City Development Corp. elected to reverse the direction of 8th St. The agency hoped to see a Barnes Dance installed at Main and 8th – but so far, ACHD has not implemented the crossing in that location.
Work was still in progress as of Wednesday afternoon.