Pedestrians in L.A. may no longer be able to play the Rodney Dangerfield card, as news this week indicates they're beginning to get some overdue respect. At an event downtown, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a new program to replace traditional pedestrian crossings with the more visible "continental" or "zebra" crosswalks throughout the city, reports Damien Newton.
"Continental crosswalks feature two-foot wide yellow or white painted stripes paired with a limit (stop) line setback from the crosswalk to reduce vehicular encroachment into the crosswalk," explains Newton. "The crosswalks alert motorists that they are approaching a pedestrian zone and are widely considered more safe than pedestrian crossings marked by two thin lines connecting two corners of an intersection."
“Los Angeles is in the midst of a transportation renaissance,” said Villaraigosa. “We are doubling the size of our rail network, making improvements to traffic flow and adding new bikeways. But we need to ensure that no one gets left behind. This focus on pedestrian safety is part of our efforts to create a 21st century transportation network that works for everyone.”
Although the mayor wants to update each of the 19,770 marked crosswalks in the city, he's settling for completing 53 by the end of March.
“We’re excited by today’s announcement,” says Deborah Murphy, the founder of Los Angeles Walks and Chair of the city’s official Pedestrian Advisory Committee. “This is the first of what we hope are many steps forward to make our streets safer for pedestrians.”