by Michael Graham Richard, Gatineau, Canada on 11.11.08
Making Pedestrian Life Easier
Our friends at StreetFilms have a short & sweet video about diagonal crosswalks (aka pedestrian scrambles, or Barnes dances) in Los Angeles. These make life easier for pedestrians by allowing them to get across an intersection diagonally without having to cross twice, and they improve safety because you don't have cars trying to turn while people are crossing.
Read on for the video and more details.
Diagonal crosswalks are a simple but elegant way to make cities more walkable and pleasant to live in. But they're not something new:
But as it turns out, this new idea is something old. Thanks to some nifty sleuthing, Eric Richardson of blogdowntown uncovered the fact that the downtown LA area was once littered with two dozen diagonal crosswalks in the late 1950s. Removed in 1958 because a city engineer's report found they impeded car traffic flow, the lesson is obvious: let's not wait another fifty years to deploy a tool to keep pedestrians safe.
If the experiment is successful in L.A., we hope that other cities will follow suit. It wouldn't work on all intersections, but those with high volume of people on foot could really benefit.