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New pedestrian crosswalk makes an infamously dangerous intersection safer

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Pedestrians cross the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 14th Street, one of Manhattan's most dangerous crosswalks for pedestrians, on October 27, 2014 in New York City. Four  pedestrians have been killed in the last few weeks in New York City while a total of 212 people have been killed in total  traffic deaths so far this year. These numbers have added to the urgency of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate city traffic deaths. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Pedestrians cross the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 14th Street, one of Manhattan's most dangerous crosswalks for pedestrians in New York City.

The intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue is not only one of the most famous intersections in Los Angeles, it’s also one of the most dangerous.

The intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue is not only one of the most famous intersections in Los Angeles, it’s also one of the most dangerous when it comes to pedestrian injuries.

But this reputation may soon be out of date since the Los Angeles Department of Transportation installed a scramble crosswalk last November. Scramble crosswalks also known as the Barnes Dance-- named after Henry Barnes, a legendary American traffic engineer and commissioner who was a strong advocate of the scramble intersection-- are diagonal crosswalks in which all vehicular traffic is completely stopped so that pedestrians can cross an intersection from every direction simultaneously.

According to an analysis of LADOT data by tech blog Gizmodo, there were 19 crashes, which caused 13 injuries at Hollywood and Highland in the first eleven months of 2015. Five and a half months after the scramble was installed, only one non-injury car vs. car collision occurred.

Both Pasadena and Beverly Hills have declared the success over the few scramble sidewalks in their neighborhoods.

Does this mean that scramble sidewalks should be the norm at every intersection?  What impact does the Barnes Dance have on traffic? And what would it take for the city to install more scramble sidewalks where pedestrians are most vulnerable?

Guest:

James Moore, Director of USC’s Transportation Engineering Program

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