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‘If Our City Won't Keep Us Safe, We Will': Secret Group Paints Crosswalks Without Approval

If you find yourself crossing the road at the corner of Romaine Street and Serrano Avenue in East Hollywood, you might not think anything of the white crosswalk lines beneath your feet.

But according to the City of Los Angeles, the crosswalk shouldn’t be there.

A secretive group is taking action, painting crosswalks where they say they’re needed to keep people safe while crossing the street — without approval from the city, much to the displeasure of the Department of Transportation.

The crosswalks created by “Crosswalk Collective LA” seem to blend right into the rest of the city. But they didn’t come from the City of LA itself.

The group says they won’t stop anytime soon.

The Twitter bio for the group reads, “Until City Council acts, we paint crosswalks.”

“I’m glad those white lines are there,” said Edgar Geonenga, a concerned resident of East Hollywood. “Somebody painted them.”

“I believe I’ve seen these people, probably from the community,” he continued. “I’ve seen them and I thought, wow that’s good.”

Some neighbors caught the painters at work, but they told NBC4 they want to stay anonymous.

NBC4 reached out to Crosswalk Collective LA on Twitter, and was told the group took action after their requests for safer streets through the city failed.

“We are a small group of community members who have tried for years to request crosswalks and other safe streets infrastructure the official way,” the group said. “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 councilmembers. Car crashes are the number one cause of death of children in Los Angeles.

So they decided to start painting their own crosswalks.

“If our city won’t keep us safe, we will keep us safe,” Crosswalk Collective LA said.

The group posted before and after photos of their project at Romaine and Serrano Avenue. Some neighbors are pleased with the added safety measures.

“I think they should take more initiative to keep their citizens protected,” said Chanel Jole, another concerned resident.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation says they are. They added 1,400 new crosswalks city-wide in 2021.

“LADOT works with individuals and community groups to install or improve hundreds of critical safety treatments across the city, including over 1400 crosswalks citywide last year alone,” the department said in a statement to NBC4.

“Unauthorized alterations to the street are illegal and subject to immediate removal. They also take limited city resources away from our efforts to install authorized safety treatments. LADOT has not received any requests for safety treatments to this intersection since 2017 — when a request to convert the intersection from a two-way to an all-way stop was promptly installed,” the department said.

“We ask that residents who wish to see specific safety improvements make requests directly to their council office or our local district engineering offices.

But residents aren’t just concerned about one intersection.

“It’s not only in this particular area,” one concerned neighbor, who did not want his name shared, said. “If you go anywhere in Los Angeles, whenever you’re going to cross the street, some cars don’t stop.”

According to data obtained by NBC4’s I-Team, over the last year, in the City of LA, hit and runs that caused injuries are up 5%.

Deadly hit-and-run accidents are up 12%.

On the blocks surrounding the East Hollywood community in question, there have been 73 crashes since January 2020.

“[Crosswalk Collective LA] should [continue] not only in this intersection, but probably almost all the area over here,” Geonenga said. “That’s just my own opinion.”

That’s exactly the plan. According to the group’s Twitter page, they’re already taking requests to paint more crosswalks in other parts of LA.


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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