Larry Block Takes Crosswalk Safety Campaign to the Streets

cross safe weho
Cross Safe WeHo poster

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.

  1. It’s a tragedy any lives have been lost.
    I don’t know the details of Clint’s death nor the others, so I am not commenting on them specifically. I will comment on the general attitude of West Hollywood pedestrians: entitled and clueless.

    Pedestrians legally have the right of way but arrogantly assume traffic will stop for them.
    This is a deadly mistake. Most adults weight between 100 – 200, Most cars weigh 3000 – 6000 pounds. YOU need to be responsible and conscientious because you’re going to lose. Think about how long it takes someone walking to stop vs. thousands of pounds of steel.

    Pedestrians hop right off the curb without looking first. They’d rather stop traffic than wait 10 seconds for a clearing. As a pedestrian and driver, I see this every day! Some seemingly enjoy the power of stopping traffic.

    I am a native and a local but work from New York throughout the year. You don’t see this complacency there. Walkers respect traffic. They wait and don’t assume cars will stop. LA needs to develop a NY mentality.

    Certainly drivers have a responsibility but it’s much easier for a pedestrian to see a car than vice versa. Please West Hollywood. Be mindful. Be courteous. It’s okay to wait for a clearing. It’s okay to look both ways first. It’s smart to MAKE EYE CONTACT with the driver before proceeding so it’s clear they’ve seen you.

    No more lives should be loss. Pedestrians need to do their part though too.

  2. Many on this thread are criticizing Larry Block for self promoting with these “pay attention” signs because he is running for city council. So . . . what’s wrong with that? Does that negate what the signs say? Does that detract from the positive results they may create? If someone sees a sign, is reminded to looks both ways, does so, and therefore is more aware of the traffic conditions along SMB, is it somehow less of a positive thing just because the person who put up the signs is running for city council? Don’t we WANT someone who will walk the streets on his/her own time for the benefit of his/her community at large? Doesn’t this suggest the kind of council person Larry Block would be? I really don’t get the hub-bub here – aside of course for the opposition trying to bash this candidate. Campaigns in this city are extremely hard to win if you aren’t armed with cash. I’m not suggesting that Larry Block isn’t armed with cash, I just don’t understand why a candidate for city council is being persecuted for putting up signs telling people to be careful on a street that is notoriously dangerous and has already taken the lives of at least 4 pedestrians. I mean, do I really need to bring out Harvey Milk’s strategic dog poop? Are those on this thread who want to bash Block also so quick to bash Milk? Manny, you seem to be the most vocal here. Care to weigh in?

  3. 1) the city is not active in enforcing sign posting regulations, for example temporary tow-away signs stapled to the city trees for the Pride event noted as “defacing public trees”. When this was noticed to the city with a line to the culprits, nothing was done. It took repeated notices to get the left-over sign debris and piles of staples pulled out of the trees trunks. 2) as others have observed, flashing lights at crosswalks in non-flashing light environments may be effective, but more flashing lights in a lighting environment filled with flashing lights and distractions is just adding more confusing visual noise for motorists. And pedestrians around the nightclubs are fully distracted and often compromised. Placing any feature at the crosswalks that gives them the impression that there is a level of safety – i.e. that this crosswalk is there, has apparently been well thought out, has proven over time to be reasonably effective and safe or it wouldn’t be there – instinctively says to the pedestrian (distracted and maybe otherwise compromised) that they can proceed in the crosswalk without undo attentiveness (assuming that attentiveness can be expected of pedestrians in that environment).

    A real solution has to involve the real-time nature of the specific environment and what humans will instinctively do in that environment. More flashing lights in the over-saturated flashing lights and mega distraction environment around the nightclubs will likely just make crosswalk matters worse.

  4. @Christopher I was thinking pedestrian bridges would be a novel approach but then why make people have to do that? If there were escalators then O.K. but no matter what in crosswalks or lights (that don’t seem to have enough time) the blame falls on the driver although I myself have texted while walking aimlessly and was at fault for not keeping up with the light.

    I DO applaud Larry Block, I think he cares alot about the city and okay code compliance is that such a huge issue when this it about public safety??

    Those signs might have saved a life by now, I saw some maintenance city employees removing some signs, don’t know if they were his but his passion to help people is more important than a relatively small code compliance issue.

    When government is backlogged on getting things done we as a community and tax payers should have a right to step up and do the right thing. A sign on a post that is helping people, is that really so wrong?

  5. I commend Mr. Block for his efforts to actually help the people of WEHO. Its great to see a community member stand up for the crosswalks and even if what he says is true, the crosswalk item approved in february has not been sent out to bid. I really admire Mr. Block for being the good cop. God knows we need more of them in this city. Crosswalk safety has become such a major issue in our town. How many innocent people are going to have to die before some really changes are made. Seems to me Mr. Block is the man that is willing to take on that fight. No city council member or the city manager has followed this up… It has taken a citizen and some of you are trashing him? Shame on you! This just motivates me to get out and vote.

  6. Hi Everybody,
    First off, Im a member of Cross Safe WeHo.. and when asked to take the lead I volunteered my time. When making the signs I called Phil, the founder and asked it it was ok to put my name in small print on the bottom. a) to protect cross safe weho b) all it said was #larryblock4weho, put west hollywood first… and c).. so that code compliance can pick on me, and I take the blame,

    In hindsight.. I didn’t need to put my name on it at all. But it garnered some attention.. the Public Safety Office and the Public Information Office had a meeting today about pedestrian outreach. So..I while I apologize for using my name on a 10pt font versus a 30 point font for all the words Cross Safe WeHo.. — I don’t apologize for addressing the crosswalk issue. We have been fighting for 2 years on the Disability Board and I keep repeating that the lights are going up, the lights are going up and I was very disappointed to learn that the lights are not going up..

    Thanks Riley, appreciate your points.. in any case I’m gong to the Public Safety meeting tonight to talk about the crosswalks.. and City Hall is going to roll out a new initiative on pedestrian safety that you will see soon, and yes through this process I discovered the Rapid Flashing Beacon lights, approved by the City Council in February has NOT YET been sent out to bid. So, I take the heat for ruffling some feathers.. why don’t the people who want to hold me accountable ask City Hall why our Public Safety is sitting in a folder on a city staffers desk.

    And finally, dog walker signs, cats lost, missing person signs, yard signs are all allowed up… I offered to put simple CAUTION, LOOK BOTH WAYS signs up.. and maybe, just maybe, the powers that be will realize that the utility posts are a valuable place to put safety signs.. right above the buttons that you press and in full view of the pedestrian.

    I’m interested in safer crosswalks, if you are too then focus on them not me. It was my mistake to put my name on the bottom of the sign, a small mistake in the big picture, sorry Im raising awareness while the others are raising money.. Im competing on issues, my wallet is small, my friends are everyday folks, and don’t have big money behind me. Im gonna compete on issues and ideas. And If I lose, the city council is NOT a prize, its something I would be honored to do if the people ask me to serve.

  7. Larry, I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place and well meaning….
    but I respectfully suggest that you pull back and take a calming
    deep breath…..Gov. Christy is not a good role model for you.
    I agree with Manny’s comments….he’s very bright and makes valid points.
    Taking down light pole signs is not his style.

    1. I agree with Mikey. Larry, I dont know you but a word of advice from a hot head…you need to come across in a more calm, respectful, authoritative manner without sounding like you’re losing your composure. Like every candidate likes to do, they paint everyone at City Hall as incompetent, the ones running for a chance to get elected are all innocent and fighters for the good. Let me just say that this City has been run pretty damn good since Cityhood. We’ve accomplished a lot, kept money in the bank and all the whole have become a world class destination for nightlife, shopping and dining (all the while remaining one of the safest cities). That’s why everyone wants to live here, shop here, dine here and party here. The people that this City has elected over the years (some multiple times) have done a pretty damn good job of running things. We don’t need all these meetings and awareness programs. The crosswalks should be removed. People should cross at the light. Safer for them and better for traffic. If the cross walks are to remain, the same dumb drivers and the same dumb pedestrians will still be having run ins with each other – blinking lights or no blinking lights – cause if you’re distracted, you’re distracted. And if you’re gonna do something just for the good of all, you don’t put your name on it. As my grandmother use to say, “self praise stinks.”

  8. Thank you Fallopia……@Riley, do you know where I was or what I did about illegal campaign signs in 2013? I don’t think you do. But one place I wasn’t was removing illegally placed signs then or now. (no apology get for an earlier accusation)

    The point is simple, don’t place signs with political url’s anywhere in the public space, don’t act entitled, don’t put anything other than a “safe crosswalks” Facebook page or website on public notices, don’t feel that because you have a civic resume you can’t be criticized and most importantly don’t allow a good cause to be eclipsed by improper and poor execution. (i.e. tacky light pole signs with political url’s that are ineffective)

    Other than that, this is a good effort and the people who have taken it on should continue and they have my support.




  9. @Manny, JJ, I agree with most of what you say. I do respect and greatly appreciate civic minded folks like Block, it cannot go unnoticed he is in campaign mode. Whether or not Block or his supporters realize it has the smell of self promotion. And it’s a freaking crosswalk… Cars will ALWAYS win. Peds need to take the extra step to keep themselves safe. Says a avid WeHo walker!

  10. Manny is entirely correct. Someone posts a bunch of signs that say “look both ways before crossing the street” with their Twitter handle and their CAMPAIGN website at the bottom, and it’s not self-promotion? Give me a break. Larry and his lap dogs then attack Manny for pointing this out? The “Who are you to be so critical?” comment is pretty arrogant, to say the least. If Larry didn’t want the political attention, he didn’t have to put his name on the (illegal) postings.

  11. @ Manny and @ JJ where were YOU guys when during the last campaign Duran/Prang signs went up all over my neighborhood, duct taped to the utility poles saying they were friends of the animals? Too bad doesn’t let us post pictures. Why didn’t you run around and remove THOSE signs? Hmmmm, double standards going on. Block may be running for council, but seems he is running a platform of things that people care about like safety and the city flag. What are young Mr. Mason and all the others running on? And where are all the other gazillion would-be candidates at meetings? They want to be elected and THEN they’ll come to council meetings and participate in the city??

  12. so, yes, I know that when I enter a crosswalk, legally, I have the right of way. but would I rather be right & injured or dead or would I rather make sure I’m safe. So here’s what I do–I’m not on my cell phone; l look both ways; I make eye contact with the cars closest to the crosswalk so I know they see me; when I walk through one lane, I slow my walk so I can again make eye contact with the driver of the car in that lane; I smile & wave to all the drivers who’ve stopped. So far, I’m ok…..

  13. I’ve known Larry Block for over 30+ years. He’s not someone that’s just doing good for political reasons, he’s doing good because that what he does. He cares deeply about people and he cares deeply about WeHo. He’s not one to sit home and do nothing, he’s out there working to make his neighborhood and neighbors safe. I have great respect for Larry Block and all that he tries to accomplish for the good of others.

  14. I’m behind Larry Block 100%. I’m glad that he cares enough to do something and not just sit on his hands and do nothing. Most people are so busy and in a hurry these days that yes, maybe they do need to be reminded to pay attention to where they are and keep themselves out of harms way. Yes, some people drive irresponsibly but it’s up to you as an individual to watch out for yourself. If your texting and walking and not paying attention to what’s going on around you and you get hit by a car…you have no one to blame but yourself. Larry Block cares about people and he cares about WeHo. His actions prove that!

  15. Meetings, notices, news articles… this City goes bat-sh*t over everything. My mama taught me a very simple lesson when I was 5 – look both ways before crossing the street. Yes, distracted drivers are at fault for hitting pedestrians in a crosswalk but the pedestrians themselves have a personal responsibility to look at on-coming traffic to make sure they are slowing down and stopping before they step foot into traffic. Simple as that. I never put a foot in a crosswalk unless I see that cars see me and are slowing down. We don’t need committee meetings, signs up everywhere, news articles…just remember what mama taught you when you were 5 and you’ll be safe. Have the common sense that God gave a billy goat.

  16. A lot of these comments are complaining about the pedestrians. When I sit at Coffee Bean and watch the crosswalk in front of me, it is the drivers who are not paying attention 90% of the time when there are near-misses. Perhaps a pedestrian bridge over the street would help, plus add an interesting architectural element to the city.

  17. Relax people, 95% of the signs have been taken down .. but its funny, whoever took em down left the ‘lost cat, dog walkers, and missing person signs” sounds like manny took a walk to take em down.

    As the article says the council approved the flashing beacons in february.. and this public safety item of extreme importance has not yet been put out to bid. The people against these signs are sitting at home typing about me but not emailing the city council or staff to say how can this public safety item be sitting in a folder on somebody’s desk for 6 months.

    Guy got run over and tossed in the air 2 weeks ago and I got off my ass when asked to move the ball. Any of you could have spoken up or joined a meeting but instead some just like to criticize.

  18. @ Manny and all…there is a Public Safety Commission meeting this Monday night, July 14 , 6:30pm Fiesta Hall 1200 N. Vista Street @ Plummer Park. If any of you want your voices heard, please show up!
    And for me this issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics….it has to do with Community.

    1. Jesus H. Christ people..flyers, meetings, Facebook pages… a simple lesson that was taught to me as a child. Look both ways before crossing the street. I don’t step foot into a cross walk unless I see that all vehicles see me and are slowing down to stop. Yes, drivers that are distracted and not slowing down for pedestrians are at fault too. But pedestrians themselves have a personal responsibility to look before they cross. So simple. Geez. This City goes completely bat-shit and makes huge issues out of something so simple. Have the common sense that God gave a billy goat.

  19. @Larry Block…..your last comments would have been good enough without “who are you to be so critical?”

    Who am I?….I’m just an average City of West Hollywood resident. Do people have to reach your level of self described civic accomplishment to be worthy of the ability to criticize? I hope not because few would qualify.

    I would suggest, as you move forward in your campaign, you consider a little less arrogance and a little more humility.


  20. @ Stacy: how would you feel if every citizen starting plastering every light pole with their own notices…what a mess the City would look like…that’s why we have Code Compliance Rules. No one is exempt from going through the process…especially a person running for City Council. His heart might be in the right spot but you have to respect the City and it’s rules.

  21. @ Manny: Right on. A man running for City Council breaking our own Code Compliance. Nice. If he doesn’t even respect the basic rules…what can we expect him to do if he gets elected and is sitting at the big table?!

  22. I saw the signs today while walking down SaMo Blvd and using one of the crosswalks. Now, can we get signs to remind the drivers to stop when they see someone waiting to use the crosswalk? I personally witnessed several cars make no effort to stop, even with a fifty foot lead time approaching the crossing.

    I commend the effort Larry is putting into this, along side others he mentioned by name.

    However, putting up signs like these highlights the complete lack of faith people have in the driving public’s competence and regard for the safety of other road users.

    It is akin to warning people not to dress provocatively in case someone rapes them – all of the communication is to the victim, not the perpetrators.

    People walking with cellphone kill zero people each year. People using cellphones while driving kill 10,000 people each year in the US. Where are the warning signs for them?

  23. Double-down on Cathy’s comment……I’m an avid walker in WE HO and can see “near misses” all the time in the crosswalks with inadequate signage !The Campaign is valid
    and needs our momentum.

  24. long before these signs went up I went to the Transportation Commission about these crosswalks. Lindsey Horvath chair did not place it on the agenda, and told me to go to Public Safety. I went to Public Safety and there was no actionable results and 2 fridays ago had breakfast with Ruth Williams, chair of Public Safety asking for some push to get special event signs on the crosswalks == then the guy got hit on Westbourne and I was contacted by Phil. This issue has been front and center on the Disability Board since I was appointed.

    @manny ..I’ve been working for people and issues all my life, driving a route for project angel food, being a volunteer at Cedars Sinai, President of Labor Day LA, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for social service organizations, knocking on Steve Martins door asking him to write the language for term limits, serving on the Disability Board as a John D’amico appointee. I just met John this morning and the Mayor has very kind words for my approach and outreach… so who are you to be so critical?

    log on to Cross Safe WeHo on Facebook and see the posts by David Blaine Etter, his boyfriend in a body bag, killed on Santa Monica and Hancock, — 5 years ago,.. the crosswalk still looks the same. Thats what motivates me.

  25. @meister4weho…..Thank you! Now that’s a good way to do it. Count me in to help pass them out…….Cathy, wanna help?

  26. @Cathy….I think you’re better suited to offer help in that crowd. Although I am interested in public safety I’m afraid that cause has been highjacked. I’m not interested in participating in that political campaign, defacing of our public property and misconcieved attempts at safety awareness……ok?

    @Stacy…..”your candidate”?…..what are you talking about?….who’s my candidate?….lol.

  27. The City’s Public Safety division has a “Pedestrian Safety” pocket-size brochure (small, easy to hand out). It was something the public safety commission worked on in our “Live, Work, Play, Be Safe” campaign. Perhaps a stack of these can be given to each of the businesses located around the various mid-block crosswalks. I emailed Kristin Cook from the City’s Public Safety division to see how we can help get these distributed.

  28. @ Manny….then why don’t you offer to help instead of just criticizing?
    Thank you Phil Hoskins for bringing this to the attention of Larry Block who truly does want to make our city safer…..

  29. Walking my dogs this morning I stopped at the crosswalk and took special notice of the Cross Safe sign and was proud of a citizen speaking up. Manny -you sound frustrated -it sounds like your beef is politically motivated- putting down the good cop raising awareness while your candidate is only raising money.

  30. This candidate is not except from rules or entitled to deface public property. He does not nor should he get special privileges. He is not a VIP, special or above any other resident and citizen. Just because he facebooks council members and badgers city staff doesn’t give him special powers.

    The signs posted on public property are another cheap attempt at getting attention for a political campaign in the name of public safety. It’s shameful.

    These signs are awfully made anyway and do not attract quick attention. Not only is it defacing public property and encouraging others to do so, it is NOT effective for the cause.

    @Woody: “no personal political ambitions”, lol, come on Woody!

  31. Ya know. Sometimes the people have to scream out for a change ! Sometimes you need a leader to do that ! Congrats Larry for making sure it is upfront ! That’s what leaders do. Sometimes you need to break a little rule to make a change !!!

  32. As a West Hollywood resident for 45 years, I have experienced the population impact on West Hollywood. With the ever growing common use of cell phones, I have noticed for some time how pedestrians are more interested in their phones and texting than they are in paying attention as they cross the street. I have witnessed too many times, of late, people crossing at San Vicente and Santa Monica, paying no attention to the changing of the light which has left them in the crosswalk. Not only do they not quicken their pace, they don’t even seem aware they no longer have the light. This campaign is gravely needed and my hat if off to Larry Block or anyone who is willing to do something to bring awareness to this issue. When the time comes for voting, he will surely have my vote.

  33. This City Council has been very negligent on public safety issues. I’m glad Larry Block is stepping up to the plate. Larry Block is a good & generous man & his community service is from the heart. He is a hard worker who has no personal political ambitions or ego trips, he just wants to make the city he loves a safer & better place for everyone. Larry has been active in the community long enough & has single-handedly accomplished enough to prove his leadership skills many times over. It is time he brings his talents to the City Council where he can help us make the changes we’ve needed so badly for so long. And 2015 is time for real change!

  34. Cross Safe WeHo, is not mine, itsours, and its the brainchild of Phil Hoskins. Two weeks ago he sent an instant message on Facebook to D’Amico, Prang, Duran, and myself. Upon receiving the message Duran chimed in, I answered, and then we realized that the other council members were cc:, it would be a violation of the Brown Act. It left Phil and myself alone- having never met prior. -Our first meeting included Michael King and Marco Colantonio. Marco is a gigantic crosswalk advocate and we both serve on the Disability Advisory Board.

    At yesterdays meeting with city staff we all agreed to look into the availability of special event signs that are used for the marathon or pride… to alert traffic to slow down and beware of those two deadly crosswalks at Hancock and Palm. City staff promised to get back with an update on the availability of those signs and it will not be a surprise to them that these I was hanging these paper signs. I told em yesterday, you get those warning signs up or Im going to post em myself. Why let another person get hit in the crosswalk?

    The Rapid Flashing Beacons were APPROVED by council a few months back. The orders have NOT been placed yet, 2 or 3 months later. We have surveys and studies that led to the recommendation for these RFB, whether you like em or not still IT HAS NOT BEEN SENT OUT TO BID 2-3 MONTHS LATER… (which requires more months of production and installation). .. so – with that knowledge that these are needed for a reason, some temp sign should be placed. Hopefully it motivates the city to move faster. PS, Im blind, one eye that is partially sighted. It is very hard to cross the street, the cars don’t stop. Pedestrians need to be respectful, and cautious, but cars sometimes don’t care and the police don’t monitor these crosswalks at all.

  35. This is a good time for code compliance to notice 2014 City Council Candidates that putting their self promoting campaign signs (like these posters) on public property is not permitted.

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