Eyes on the Street: Santa Monica Gets Creative with Its Crosswalks

Image: Santa Monica Donwtown Neighborhood Association/Twitter.
Creativity at Ocean and Broadway in Downtown Santa Monica. Image: Santa Monica Downtown Neighborhood Association/Facebook.

Last night, the City of Santa Monica painted the first of its “creative crosswalks” designed to improve both safety and fun for people walking across the street. Last night’s painting was at the intersection of Ocean and Broadway. A second installation is planned for Arizona and Second Street tonight.

“Creative crosswalks can create a sense of surprise and delight that adds to the experience of walking in Downtown,” said Francie Stefan (Santa Monica’s mobility manager) to Santa Monica Next when the program was announced last July.

Santa Monica has been making strides toward designing safer, more comfortable streets, including recently adopting a pedestrian action plan that includes a Vision Zero statement, affirming their commitment to reducing the number of traffic-related deaths and serious injuries to zero.

To those ends, the city has also applied for $3.6 million in Active Transportation Program funding from the state to fund a “safe routes for seniors” program as well as for major safety improvements around the 17th Street Expo station and along the stretch of Pico Boulevard near Santa Monica College.

Last year, Portland, Oregon, debuted rain-themed crosswalks. And West Hollywood and Long Beach both have rainbow-colored crosswalks that celebrate the LGBT culture in each city.

Cities around the world have been using creative crosswalks to not only enliven the pedestrian experience, but to make streets safer by making pedestrian crossings more visible to motorists.

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