Photo above courtesy of Juxtapoz. Rendering below courtesy of the DLBA.
First came the rainbows. Then came the piano keys. Now, more creative crosswalks will invade the streets of Long Beach and this time, DTLB will be the latest neighborhood to blessed with the artistic crossings.
After its initial call for artists back in 2015, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) has ditched its original choice to head the project, environmental designer and artist Kipp Kobayashi, in favor of Los Angeles-based surrealist pop artist Hataya Tubtim.
Announced earlier this week, Tubtim will oversee the design for pedestrian crosswalks at 6 mid-block crossings along Pine Avenue in DTLB, like the one pictured in Miami above. While not formally approved yet by City officials, the DLBA hopes to begin installing them this month.
While crosswalks are typically marked with zebra markings—simple white and black lines—creative crosswalks serve two larger purposes. The most obvious is the artistic flair they add to the environment; simply put, they’re fun. But more importantly, they increase pedestrian safety and awareness. Pedestrians are more likely to use the crosswalks rather jaywalk and cars are more likely to slow down when approaching colorful, creative designs on the road than the typical, monochromatic crossings they are used to seeing daily.
“This creative crosswalk project serve as a perfect example of how public art can benefit the community,” stated Sean Warner, Placemaking Manager for the DLBA. “It not only adds to DTLB’s vivid art scene, it promotes urbanism and will increase pedestrian activity Downtown. ‘Lighter, quicker, cheaper’ approaches to changing the urban landscape like this can make a big difference in improving the livability of DTLB.”
Noting that “good design can transform and anchor the identity of a place to its public, and can influence how a public interacts with the site,” Tubtim told the DLBA the crosswalks will have “images of marine life juxtaposed with a history of Long Beach’s innovation.”