Dangerous intersections: LA gets a few crosswalk makeovers, but are they in the right places?

A pedestrian walks next to Rod Serling's star in Hollywood, California.
A pedestrian walks next to Rod Serling's star in Hollywood, California. David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles city officials launched an effort to give 53 intersections a makeover Monday, in hope of combating higher-than-average rates of traffic accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

At the intersection of Spring and Fifth streets, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and city officials unveiled the first of 53 crosswalk makeovers, which are intended to make them wider, brighter and more visible to motorists.

"This focus on pedestrian safety is part of our efforts to create a 21st -century transportation network that works for everyone," the mayor said  in a news release.

The 53 intersections amount to only about 1 percent of all  intersections in the city, but have about 5 percent of all vehicle-pedestrian collisions, city officials said.

Earlier in 2012, the city hired a pedestrian coordinator, and the  crosswalk makeover is one of the projects to come out of those hires. The intersections targeted for the makeover have had a high number of  pedestrian and vehicle collisions over the past five years. The intersection with the highest number of collisions in each city council  district will also receive the new design.

As opposed to the set of parallel lines that pedestrians walk between, the new design — called the "continental crosswalk" — is a series of  2-foot wide yellow or white painted stripes that cover the crosswalk. The stripes are combined with a stop line that aims to keep motorists  from driving into the crosswalk.

The new crosswalk will first be applied near transit stations, schools and bike path crossings. Depending on funds, the design will also head to new transit and development projects.

The makeovers will continue over the next three months and will be paid for by Measure R funds.

According a news release, the average cost is $2,500 per crosswalk, or $530,000 for the first 53 intersections.

The makeovers come with an educational campaign placed on billboards, bus shelters and bus panels that will tell motorists how to share the road with pedestrians, as well as public service announcements on local television and radio stations.

About a third of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, and about 3 percent involve bicyclists, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The national average of pedestrian-involved fatalities is 11.4 percent; about 1.7 percent of  fatalities nationally were bicyclists.

In the map below, we compare the intersections deemed by the city to be dangerous (green) with the intersections you told us where the most dangerous (red). Are there others? Click on the map to submit your nomination for intersections that are hazardous to pedestrians or cyclists.

Did the city pick the right crosswalks? Are there other dangerous intersections they should target? Click the image to see our full interactive map of user-submitted and city designated dangerous intersections. 

With contributions by Kim Bui

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