L.A. Installing Rainbow Halo Memorial Art At Traffic Death Sites

New rainbow halo installations commemorate victims of traffic violence. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
New rainbow halo installations commemorate victims of traffic violence. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Today, the city of Los Angeles dedicated the first of its “Rainbow Halo” memorial markers for victims of traffic violence. The rainbow halo on Sherman Oaks’ Woodman Avenue at Addison Street commemorates the life of Conor Lynch, killed there by a hit-and-run driver in 2010.

Artist
Artist John Morse created the rainbow halo artwork – as part of the LADOT and DCA creative catalyst program

The art installation is the product of two city departments and their artist in residence, working with nonprofit organizations. L.A. City Departments of Transportation (LADOT) and Cultural Affairs (DCA) host a creative catalyst program that hires artists to produce art related to Vision Zero, the international effort to end traffic violence. The halos were created by artist John Morse. The city and the artist collaborated with nonprofits Southern California Families for Safe Streets and Los Angeles Walks.

At today’s dedication ceremony, L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu joined other city leaders and safe streets advocates to commemorate the new installation and the story behind it. Ryu criticized distracted drivers, and called the memorial “a solemn reminder of the lives lost to traffic collisions and the ongoing work to make Los Angeles streets safe for all.”

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Jeri Lynch speaking at today’s dedication. Left to right are: LADOT’s Nader Asmar, L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu, DCA’s Danielle Brazell, and artist John Morse

A tearful Jeri Lynch related the horror of how a driver killed her son. On October 19, 2010, while training with his high school cross country team, Conor Lynch was killed by a distracted, unlicensed, hit-and-run driver. Jeri Lynch founded the Conor Lynch Foundation to work for the safety of runners, pedestrians, cyclists, and young drivers. Lynch spoke of the need for families impacted by car crashes to “share your stories.”

City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs General Manager Danielle Brazell’s poignant remarks touched on the AIDS activism saying, “art saves lives.” She added that “advocacy absolutely works” and praised the rainbow halo project for “creating meaningful interactions” and “moments of reflection.”

Project artist Morse spoke of the biblical symbolism of the rainbow shown to Noah as “deliverance after destruction.” He created the Rainbow Halo installations to highlight the fragility of life – as the sun interacts with the artwork to create a moment unique to now.

LADOT has already installed four halo rainbows – out of a planned one hundred. Each one is done in collaboration with victims’ families, community, and nonprofits. If readers have lost a loved one to traffic violence, and are interested in the city installing a halo and plaque to commemorate, contact So. Cal. Families for Safe Streets at socalsafestreets (at) losangeleswalks.org to begin the process.

The Conor Lynch Foundation commemorates Conor Lynch's life with several commemorations at the corner of Woodman and Addison in Sherman Oaks
The Conor Lynch Foundation commemorates Conor Lynch’s life with several commemorations at the corner of Woodman and Addison in Sherman Oaks
Bus bench at Woodley/Addison commemorates Conor Lynch
Bus bench at Woodley/Addison commemorates Conor Lynch

 

  • Ya boy

    Can they fill some pot-holes while they are at it?

  • westondeboer

    Just spray paint a penis around the pot hole, it will get fixed right quick

  • Walt Arrrrr

    This is not Vision Zero.

    My heart goes out to Conor’s mother, Jeri Lynch who will forever grieve the loss of her son. As a parent, I worry every day my middle schooler goes to school and has to cross the designated High Injury Network street of North Figueroa. But I don’t want the City give me a sign, I want the City to SLOW THE CARS.

    Woodman Avenue where Conor Lynch was struck is also designated on Los Angeles High Injury Network. In the nine years since Conor’s death, the only traffic calming attempts on Woodman have been via roadway paint. (Continental crosswalks with limit lines, and bike lanes that disappears in sections when it challenges parking privileges, or weekly when residents put their trash bins in it.) There are no pedestrian bulb-outs at crosswalks. No speed tables. No median. No pedestrian refuges. No flexposts. No bollards. No pinch points. No road diet. This street is 80 feet wide with five lanes, the two bike lanes, and a lot of parked cars on both sides. Pedestrians get one sidewalk on side of the street that faces the hot afternoon sun. We know narrow is safer, forcing drivers to drive slow and be vigilant about watching the road saves lives. But instead, here is a tiny sign with tiny lettering on top of a ten foot pole that only people waiting under the sweltering San Fernando Valley sun for the 158 bus with good vision can read. (Able-bodied people only, there is no ADA compliant curb cut here.) The distracted drivers who are able to drive 60 miles per hour here could not care less.

    Sadly, in my opinion, this is a setback for the goal of reaching Vision Zero in The City of Los Angeles, and a win for change-averse council members. I see the Rainbow Halo Memorials as way for City Council Members such as David Ryu to pacify our most important safe streets advocates: Victim’s Families.

    Council Members have long tried to appease their most vocal critics with proclaimations and certificates that give them some recognition, but not the change they demand. Sometimes they even offer jobs to vocal activists in the hopes of bringing them into the fold and silencing dissent.

    When Yolanda Lugo was killed walking across North Figueroa Street in October of 2015, the family protested the local City Council Member, demanding the street be made safer for pedestrians. Rather than finally fixing all of North Figueroa as city engineers recommended, he instead made the tactical decision to pacify the Lugo Family by putting up a traffic signal where their beloved was killed. It worked. They went away. And people just continue to die on Figueroa.

    So how brilliant it is that the City has a new tool to silence families who lose their loved ones because our city streets are designed to prioritize car speeds over vulnerable road user safety. “Look, we put up a plastic rainbow halo in your child’s honor. What more do you want?”

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