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:


Streetfilm: Barnes Dance!

Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson filmed the only place that we know of in Manhattan where pedestrians can go out and do the Barnes Dance, also known as the Pedestrian Scramble, at the intersection of 17th Street & Broadway. There you’ll find red lights in all directions for about 17 seconds, allowing pedestrians an exclusive phase in […]

Streetfilms: Introducing the Pedestrian Peek-a-Boo

This excellent Streetfilm from Robin Urban Smith and Clarence Eckerson is another in a series of vids on cheap and effective streetscape alterations that improve safety for all users. Writes Robin:  Daylighting is a simple pedestrian safety measure achieved by removing parking spaces adjacent to curbs around an intersection, increasing visibility for pedestrians and drivers […]

Ride With Clarence on the Tour de Staten Island

Close to 2,000 people turned out Sunday for Transportation Alternatives’ 2015 Tour de Staten Island. For the event’s fifth year, riders were treated to areas of the new Fresh Kills Park that aren’t yet open to the public. Other highlights included oceanside riding and views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, where the Harbor Ring Committee continues to advocate for bike and pedestrian […]

StreetFilm: Crosswalks #1

From StreetFilms’ Clarence Eckerson Jr.: With all the great achievements that are abounding in the livable streets movement, sometimes we need to revisit reality. Recently, I stumbled upon a cache of traffic b-roll I was gathering during the summer of cars infringing on pedestrian rights. I’ll gamble we’ve all seen worse scenes, probably daily, but […]

78th Precinct Targets Drivers Who Fail to Yield to Pedestrians

Last week, Police Commissioner Bratton said the 78th Precinct and its commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, made him “proud of PD” by clearing snow from the Bergen Street bike lane. Here’s something even better: The 78th has amped up enforcement against drivers committing one of the city’s deadliest traffic violations — failing to yield to pedestrians […]