Eyes on the Street: Santa Monica’s Creative Crosswalks Add Color to Downtown Intersections

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Image: Santa Monica Donwtown Neighborhood Association/Twitter.
Creativity at Ocean and Broadway in Downtown Santa Monica. Image: Santa Monica Downtown Neighborhood Association/Facebook.

Santa Monica is not the first city to have colored in their crosswalks. Long Beach and West Hollywood are just two local examples of cities that beat them to the street. However, the Santa Monica’s newest “Creative Crosswalks” may be the most intricate.

A statement from the city describes the crosswalks as "another way the City of Santa Monica is breaking the stereotype that nobody walks in L.A." Photo: Rick Cole/Twitter
A statement from the city describes the crosswalks as “another way the City of Santa Monica is breaking the stereotype that nobody walks in L.A.” Photo: Rick Cole/Twitter

Both Sunday evening and last night, city staff were hard at work repainting the intersections of Ocean and Broadway (Sunday) and Arizona and Second (last night). The results are a pair of intersections that stand out, even when compared to the rainbow intersections in WeHo and Long Beach. The two brightly colored crossings are two of 12 all-way “scramble” crosswalks in the Downtown designed to reduce congestion and to enhance the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Creative crosswalks can create a sense of surprise and delight that adds to the experience of walking in Downtown,” said Francie Stefan (Santa Monica’s mobility manager) to Santa Monica Next when the program was announced last July.

Santa Monica has been making strides toward designing safer, more comfortable streets, including recently adopting a pedestrian action plan that includes a Vision Zero statement, affirming their commitment to reducing the number of traffic-related deaths and serious injuries to zero.

To those ends, the city has also applied for $3.6 million in Active Transportation Program funding from the state to fund a “safe routes for seniors” program as well as for major safety improvements around the 17th Street Expo station and along the stretch of Pico Boulevard near Santa Monica College.

Arizona and Second. Photo: Rick Cole/Twitter
Arizona and Second. Photo: Rick Cole/Twitter

Cities around the world have been using creative crosswalks to not only enliven the pedestrian experience, but to make streets safer by making pedestrian crossings more visible to motorists.

“Come see the crosswalk for yourself! The City of Santa Monica is holding a press conference tomorrow at 9 a.m. with Mayor Tony Vazquez and Assemblymember Richard Bloom from the Downtown Farmers Market to unveil the new crosswalk and to announce an exciting national recognition.”

This story relies on reporting done by Jason Islas before his current leave of absence.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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