The prevailing adage goes that our infrastructure reflects our values. Thus our transportation systems, with their high investment in roads and personal auto ownership, and low investment in rail and other transit networks, reflect our cultural propensity towards the individual and our reluctance to embrace a more collective cultural model. Yet what if this adage is wrong? What if the infrastructure we see does not so much reflect our cultural values but instead reflects the limited ways in which we plan and conduct outreach for our transportation systems in the first place?
A video by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo architecture students Sarah Fleming, Tam Thien Tran, and Toon Virochpoka, in partnership with the Gensle,r explores the possibility of a car-free Downtown Los Angeles. Dreaming big should be a daily exercise.
Proposed crosswalk design that jibes with the actual paths of pedestrians crossing the street
The conventional zebra-stripe crosswalk of stripes of equal lengths may not mirror how most pedestrians actually travel across intersections. Think for a moment about how and where you yourself step out into the street at an intersection and what path you take. Does it follow to a T the path of the crosswalk? Or does it more so mirror the paths of the pedestrians photographed below?
Korean designer Jae Min Lim has developed a new crosswalk design that more accurately matches the actual travel paths of most pedestrians when they cross a street. Since the birth of the crosswalk, municipalities have sought to ensure that all pedestrians conform to right angles, or slight variations thereof. Jae Min Lim suggests that this attempt at boxing in the pedestrian verges on futile, and that it is time for crosswalk design to move beyond nearly 100 years of wishful thinking. The dubbed “Ergo Crosswalk” is an attempt to invite the world’s cities into the 20th Century, where pedestrians (aka urban residents) might share an equal or greater standing with motor vehicles, where design jibes with real behavior, where urban form follows user function.