Vigilantes paint own crosswalks in Los Angeles CA

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A group calling itself Crosswalk Collective LA is secretly painting crosswalks not authorized by the city to boost pedestrian safety in Los Angeles.

Screen grab from KNBC video

A secret group of crosswalk vigilantes has launched a campaign to add its own pedestrian crossings to Los Angeles streets.

“The city doesn’t keep us safe, so we keep us safe,” Crosswalk Collective LA said in a Twitter post. The group’s account also includes photos of its work and invites readers to suggest new crosswalk locations.

“I’m glad those white lines are there,” East Hollywood resident Edgar Geonenga told KNBC about a newly added crosswalk in his neighborhood. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s good.’”

“Los Angeles’s streets are deadly for pedestrians and cyclists,” the group’s Twitter bio says. “Until City Council acts, we paint crosswalks.”

But some Los Angeles officials are less enamored of the group’s freelance crosswalk efforts.

“Any unauthorized alteration to a street is subject to removal,” spokesman Colin Sweeney of the city’s Department of Transportation told National Public Radio.

He encouraged residents to instead seek permanent new crosswalks by working with the city and going through the process to authorize them. Crosswalk Collective LA says that takes too long.

“At every turn, we’ve been met with delays, excuses, and inaction from our city government, as well as active hostility to safe streets projects from sitting council members,” the group said in a statement to KNBC.

Neighbors say they are pleased by the impromptu crosswalks.

“It’s good they did that,” Esther Kim told KTLA. “I’m really grateful for that.”

Healthy Streets LA said Los Angeles Police Department data shows 128 pedestrians were killed in the city in 2021, a 6% increase over 2020.

That means on average a pedestrian is killed in Los Angeles every three days, a rate four times the national average, Healthy Streets LA said.

Crosswalk Collective LA said it is preparing a guide for similar efforts in other cities, including tips on painting professional-looking crosswalks, National Public Radio reported.

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.

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