Streetfilms: The Pedestrian Scramble Returns to L.A.

Clarence Eckerson’s newest Streetfilm captures the bustle of pedestrians and cyclists using diagonal crosswalks near the USC campus. It’s entrancing footage, even without the benefit of time-lapsed film. LADOT recently added 10 of these crossings around the metro area, but as Clarence discovered in the course of making the video, the "pedestrian scramble" isn’t completely novel to L.A.:

…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 L.A. 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.

And if you want to watch something that now seems extra silly, we did something fun on Barnes Dances early in the year. You have been warned.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I like it and we could really use more of these where appropriate.

    However I think that bikes should dismount and walk their bikes across or cross with motor vehicle traffic during the regular green phase.

    Bicyclists do have the option to turn into pedestrians by simply dismounting so they still have the best of both worlds but riding with the peds just looks dangerous and is discourteous.

  • Actually, despite the heavy number of cyclists (and heavy number of peds too!) this intersection seems to work beautifully even without dismounting. I didn’t see one bicycle ride kamikaze-like thru the intersection, it really feels like a symphony and peds didn’t seem to mind. Believe me, being in L.A. I think anywhere non-car drivers are in a bunch they bond a little more then peds/bikes in this city.

  • uSkyscraper

    Toronto recently put in a scramble at a major intersection and the resulting press coverage was voluminous. I love scrambles as much as the next person, but there were dozens of articles and blog posts gushing over it. They’re crazy for scrambles! Here’s one terrific post:

    http://spacing.ca/wire/2008/08/29/pedestrian-scramble-time-lapse/

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