Artist to Help Los Angeles Meet Vision Zero Goal

LADOT’s first artist-in-residence will engage the city’s many subcultures, and its lively art scene, in his effort to improve pedestrian safety.

2 minute read

June 9, 2016, 8:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden

Los Angeles Street

shalunts / Shutterstock

Los Angeles, the city ranked most dangerous for pedestrians, according to one analysis, has appointed an artist-in-residence to help meet its target of eliminating traffic deaths by the year 2025.

Alan Nakagawa, who worked in Los Angeles Metro’s public art department for more than 25 years, spoke to Gizmodo about his plans to use sound art and oral history to raise awareness about traffic safety and the need to "share the road."

Notably, Nakagawa will tailor his projects to reflect cultural and community differences across the city. He plans to work at the neighborhood level, prioritizing areas with more traffic deaths, to explore the "regional vernacular" of how people use streets:

For example, Central American communities might share bikes informally within their own neighborhoods, while others lock their bikes up inside. “We have our own cultural differences due to migrants in Southern California, which is another level of mobility to navigate,” he told Gizmodo.

Nakagawa also wants to convert part of the Caltrans headquarters—a state building known unflatteringly as the Death Star—into a public space and gallery that would participate in Downtown L.A.’s monthly art walks.

Since joining LADOT in 2014, general manager Seleta Reynolds has worked to infuse design, art, and tech into agency operations. She’s not alone: New York City’s DOT has also hired artists to highlight pedestrian safety, and Seattle recently partnered with a startup to create transit-themed public art on sidewalks.

Monday, June 6, 2016 in Gizmodo

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