Tactical Urbanism Makes Strides in L.A.

A DIY urbanism group in Los Angeles has successfully prompted the city to install permanent crosswalks at dangerous intersections, despite the city’s insistence that the group’s do-it-yourself work is illegal.

2 minute read

February 14, 2023, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

A secretive group calling itself Crosswalk Collective LA is filling gaps in the city’s pedestrian infrastructure, highlighting the government’s failure to quickly respond to the growing pedestrian safety crisis and, in some cases, prompting the city to take action and make their do-it-yourself interventions permanent. As Caitlin Hernández reports for LAist, Crosswalk Collective LA has been painting “unauthorized” crosswalks at intersections throughout the city, taking requests from community members for new locations. 

Hernández describes the group’s most recent intervention, a crosswalk near an East Hollywood park. “The collective's DIY crosswalk was painted in November last year. LADOT replaced it in the same month, according to department spokesperson Colin Sweeney.”

Although LADOT declined to comment on their reasoning for the new crosswalk, according to a statement from Crosswalk Collective LA, “When LADOT installs a new crosswalk in the place of one of ours, it’s a direct response to our action, as well as a tacit acknowledgment of the city's failure to be proactive in building out this infrastructure.” Angelenos might be familiar with another DIY urbanism project. In 2014, a group painted bright designs on a Silver Lake street to highlight dangerous cracks and potholes in the pavement. Less than a month later, the city painted over the colorful warnings—but did not repave the street.

While the group declines to share the locations of all of their installations, LAist compiled a list of at least six DIY projects, many of which have been removed by the city, but some of which have been upgraded to permanent status. 

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