Continental crosswalks make their debut in downtown

Continental crosswalks press conference

Just in time for the holidays, the intersection of 5th and Spring in Downtown LA received a pretty special gift: Shiny new continental crosswalks that are wider, clearer and safer for pedestrians. And this isn’t a one-off: 53 crosswalks across the city—prioritized due to their high rates of pedestrian collisions—will get the same makeover in 2013. This is a huge victory for LA walkers, who will finally get the same safe street crossings which are already found in many cities around the world.

Continental crosswalks press conference

Mayor Villaraigosa announced the new crosswalks at a press conference yesterday along with LADOT representatives and the city’s two new pedestrian coordinators, Margot Ocañas and Valerie Watson. And we were thrilled that Los Angeles Walks founder and chair of the LADOT Pedestrian Advisory Committee Deborah Murphy was asked to speak after the Mayor, citing the importance of these crosswalks in showing Angelenos that “we are all pedestrians.”

Continental crosswalks press conference

The new crosswalks feature two-foot-wide “zebra stripes” that make the pedestrian crossing area more visible, as well as a “stop line” five feet from the crosswalk that discourage cars from entering the zone. You can download a PDF that explains more about the thinking behind the crosswalks, and contains a list of the intersections that will see the new crosswalk design. We’re happy to say that the press conference was attended by many members of the media, and stories were reported on local news stations like ABC and blogs like Blogdowntown.

Continental crosswalks press conference

Afterwards, everyone had a little fun with the new crosswalks. The LADOT pedestrian program team posed for an Abbey Road-inspired photo.

Continental crosswalks press conference

The Mayor, Deborah, other members of LADOT and the Mayor’s office took a walk across the new crosswalk (that’s photographer Gary Leonard capturing them on the left). They were joined by a few curious walkers as well.

Continental crosswalks press conference

But perhaps our favorite part was when Deborah presented the Mayor with a Los Angeles Walks poster! We’re so thrilled to be a part of this positive change for pedestrians in LA. Let us know if you spot the new crosswalks in your neighborhood, and keep us posted about how else we can make walking safer, more accessible and more fun for Angelenos.

Check out all of our photos from yesterday’s event!