LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Nobody walks in L.A.? Don’t tell that to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is considering a controversial initiative for the city’s crosswalks.
The mayor is exploring the idea of changing at least three intersections in Los Angeles to diagonal crosswalks, or pedestrian scrambles. The crosswalks would allow pedestrians to cross along side streets, or from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner, while vehicle traffic waits.
Diagonal crosswalks are considered much safer for pedestrian traffic, but in a city where the car is king, the idea has its critics.
“For too long we haven’t innovated in terms of traffic,” Garcetti said. “Because of pedestrians, cars get blocked up for blocks and pedestrians can’t make the crosswalks either.”
One of the intersections considered for a diagonal crosswalk is Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, where as many as 80,000 pedestrians pass through the intersection daily. Los Angeles City Councilman Tom La Bonge believes the idea will make traffic in the area even worse.
“A lot of trucks through the area, a lot of buses, tour buses, a lot of individual cars – it will have a lot of impact,” La Bonge said.
There are two such diagonal crosswalks in Old Town Pasadena along busy Colorado Boulevard, and they get mixed reviews from pedestrians.
“I think its safer, its quicker, its more efficient, people go where they need to go and they move more people,” pedestrian Charlene Hardman said.
But it’s not an intuitive system for other pedestrians.
“Very confusing to me,” Patsy Jedynak said.
The other two intersections where Garcetti is proposing the diagonal crosswalks are in downtown Los Angeles, where motorist Elaine Ham didn’t seem to like the idea.
“I think because it’s so busy already, and it’s going to create really bad traffic,” she said.