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New 'zebra crossings' aim to make 53 LA intersections safer

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012, at 08:58AM
Deborah Murphy/Los Angeles Walks

These zebra crossings include two-foot-wide stripes instead of the standard crosswalk outline.

A new type of crosswalk that's supposed to make the city safer for pedestrians is slated for installation at 53 intersections throughout L.A. The first of these continental crosswalks -- aka zebra crossings -- has been installed at 5th and Spring streets in Downtown.

Replacing the traditional crosswalks that are denoted by an outline, these zebra crossings are made up of two-foot-wide stripes to increase visibility; white stripes are the standard and yellow stripes will be used when the crosswalk is located near a school. The new crosswalks also have a set-back limit line to reduce cars' encroachment into crosswalk, according to the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT).

Officials expect the new design to help improve overall pedestrian safety while also reducing collisions, injuries and fatalities.

At a press conference on Monday in Downtown, Mayor Villaraigosa said these new crosswalks are only part of L.A.'s "transportation renaissance."

"We are doubling the size of our rail network, making improvements to traffic flow and adding new bikeways," said Villaraigosa, according to ABC. "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."

LA Streetsblog reports that the city chose which crosswalks to replace based on how frequently pedestrian-related collisions occurred there. The top 50 most dangerous intersections in the city will get new continental crosswalks, as will three others; the majority of these locations are located near schools and/or transit.

Deborah Murphy, founder of Los Angeles Walks and the chair of L.A.'s Pedestrian Advisory Committee, wrote in an email that, "the installation and new city standard of continental crosswalks at all intersections is the first in many steps to make Los Angeles more walkable and to get people out of their cars and out in their communities."

According to data from LADOT, the intersection of 5th and Spring streets in Downtown is ranked number five on the top 50 most dangerous intersections in the city, followed by the intersection at 5th and Main streets at number six.

While officials are beginning the crosswalk transformation with only 53 intersections, Metro's blog The Source reports that eventually the LADOT wants to make continental crosswalks the standard for all future development and transit projects in Los Angeles.

This map shows the locations of Los Angeles crosswalks targeted for a makeover to increase pedestrian safety.

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