Following the lead of West Hollywood and Long Beach, Santa Monica is getting imaginative with their crosswalks. The city plans on installing “creative crosswalks”—pedestrian markers featuring bright colors or designs—to Ocean Avenue and Broadway and 2nd and Arizona by the end of the summer, Santa Monica Next reports.
Where WeHo and Long Beach added rainbow crosswalks as an homage to the LGBT community, Santa Monica is seeking community input for their future designs (images of the ocean and pier will likely figure prominently). The designs will be an upgrade for the “scramble crosswalks” that were recently added; these allow people to cross to any side of the street, including in a kitty-corner direction. Since scrambles stop all vehicular traffic while pedestrians cross, the effect of the “creative crosswalks” will likely be more aesthetic branding than practical safety addition. Still, it forces drivers to be more aware of pedestrians and makes the street feel safer for those not protected by metal. Santa Monica, specifically, needs to keep innovating—the streets are swarmed with people after the Expo Line opening and pedestrian deaths are on the rise.
Ideally, Santa Monica—and other parts of greater L.A.—could benefit from more visual upgrades at non-scramble crossings. The intersections where drivers veer into the crosswalk as they attempt to make a right turn are perfect candidates for more prominent markings. Some of the busiest crosswalks in the city, in neighborhoods like Westwood and Hollywood, are barely marked thanks to faded, nearly invisible, paint. Chinatown and Little Tokyo received some “creative crosswalks” in recent years, but this city needs more and not just in Downtown.
If Mayor Garcetti, who is calling for zero pedestrian deaths by 2025, doesn’t have the will to add more scrambles or splashy paint, can’t we at least get a fresh coat of the white stuff?