Larry Block has taken his Cross Safe WeHo campaign to the streets, fastening signs on poles along sidewalks that warn pedestrians to look both ways before crossing the street.
Block walked up and down Santa Monica Boulevard and other streets today putting up the signs, which technically aren’t permitted. City ordinances require that posters receive permission before putting up any signs on public property.
The Cross Safe WeHo campaign was organized last week by Block and other West Hollywood residents in response to an accident on June 28 in which a man in a pedestrian crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard near Westmount was hit by a car. The collision caused his body to be thrown up in the air and onto the car’s windshield.
News of the accident prompted a vigorous debate on WEHOville, with some arguing that pedestrians needed to be more vigilant when they entered crosswalks, others saying that drivers weren’t mindful enough of crosswalk pedestrian traffic and others saying the City of West Hollywood wasn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
A report to the City Council earlier this year said the Sheriff’s Department had identified four accidents involving pedestrians and one involving a bicyclist at the Hancock Avenue crossing of Santa Monica and three pedestrian accidents at the Palm crossing. The Council in February authorized the installation of blinking lights at those crossings and the one at San Vicente Boulevard. There already is a blinking light at the Santa Monica / Westmount crosswalk.
Block took his campaign to City Hall yesterday, where he met with Oscar Delgado, the city’s director of public works, and other staffers. Block said the city has agreed that members of its Public Safety and Public Information team will work on a plan to address crosswalk safety concerns.
Block, who owns the Block Party store on Santa Monica Boulevard and has announced his candidacy for the City Council, said other ideas worth exploring including printing safety brochures for pedestrians, writing crosswalk warnings on sidewalks and enabling Sheriff’s deputies to ticket pedestrians and drivers who are texting or talking on their cell phones while walking through or crossing crosswalks.
The Cross Safe WeHo campaign has a Facebook page where its latest actions are posted.