The City of Cupertino is trying something new to address congestion at the Bubb and McClellan intersection in the mornings: a “pedestrian scramble”.

This change will allow either all car traffic, or all pedestrian traffic, to cross during a light cycle phase instead of both cars and pedestrians trying to cross and turn at the same time. As this intersection is the primary crossing for many residents heading to Lincoln, Monta Vista, or Kennedy—the tri-school area—it sees a huge amount of car and pedestrian traffic during peak school drop off and pickup times. This change should improve the situation without other more expensive infrastructure changes.

Currently, the intersection does not allow right turns on red (for bike safety) heading eastbound or westbound on McClellan, or northbound on Bubb. When the light turns green, many vehicles still cannot turn as there is such a high volume of student and parent pedestrians and bikes crossing to go the schools. With the single lane of traffic, all traffic behind these cars cannot progress, and frequently as few as two cars proceed at each green light. Drivers get frustrated, and safety ends up compromised for both cyclists and pedestrians.


The solution the City developed has been used many places elsewhere. There will be a dedicated WALK phase, where pedestrians may cross in any of the four crosswalks, and a separate standard green traffic light phase, where cars may turn and proceed unimpeded by pedestrian traffic. During the WALK phase, cars are not able to turn right or proceed. This eliminates the conflicts and reduces the safety concerns.

This pedestrian scramble signal phasing will only occur during pickup and drop off times. At all other times, the signals will be similar to elsewhere in the city. Pedestrians will also not be able to cross diagonally, unlike in pedestrian scrambles elsewhere in the state and world. There will be sufficient time in the WALK phase for pedestrians to cross both E/W and N/S if they wish to in one phase.


Implementation is planned for January 2023, and will include new signage and educational outreach to local schools and general public. Monitoring and review of results will occur after the implementation.

The information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and Walk-Bike Cupertino and does not reflect the opinions of any other organization or entity. For more information, contact WBC at