(619) 505-7777

West Hollywood hopes to improve pedestrian safety with 3D sidewalk illustrations

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California -- The City of West Hollywood is continuing implementation of its pedestrian safety plan with a series of new sidewalk-art illustrations.

The three-dimensional (3D) artworks feature vibrant characters from the City’s Alice in WeHoLand crosswalk safety video, which was released in October 2014. The video is part of a multi-faceted crosswalk safety campaign aimed at encouraging drivers and pedestrians to act safely. To date, the video has received more than 650,000 views; it can be viewed on YouTube and a link is posted on the City’s website www.weho.org.

Fanciful characters from Alice in WeHoLand take center stage in the City’s sidewalk-art effort. Installation began on Friday, March 6, 2015 and will continue until Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Five unique images will be painted on sidewalks along Santa Monica Boulevard between San Vicente and La Cienega Boulevards. Each message will feature a speech bubble urging walkers to pay more attention to crosswalks and to devote less time to digital distractions, such as text messages, emails, and social media. When viewed at a specific angle, the images appear in 3D; pedestrians can jump in and become part of the art for photos and selfies. The art features prominently placed QR codes, which link to the video; there are also hashtags, #winkthenwalk and @wehocity, for photo posting.

“These drawings are about looking and seeing,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “Something we hope every pedestrian will do before they step into the street.”

Images on the north side of the street will be near crosswalks at Hancock Avenue, Westmount Drive, and Palm Avenue; images on the south side of the street will be near Hancock Avenue and Westbourne Drive. The artworks are being installed by We Talk Chalk, a full-service creative agency that offers unique 3D street painting and chalk art; semi-permanent paint is being applied and it is expected that the images will last approximately one year.

“Besides getting the attention of distracted drivers through lights and signage, our other challenge is to get the attention of distracted pedestrians,” said Councilmember John J. Duran. “This is one more way to get pedestrians to remove their noses from their iPhones and look left and right at moving traffic. A fully aware pedestrian is rarely an accident victim.”

Alice in WeHoLand was produced by the City and conceived by YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, a singer, actor, director, choreographer, and dancer who rose to the semi-finals of American Idol in its ninth season. The video is a humorous West Hollywood-themed parody of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off. The dance-filled video offers viewers a colorful twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland set to crosswalk safety lyrics, written by Hall, about curbing smartphone use and walking and driving safely.

“West Hollywood is my community of choice and I want to do everything I can to get people to be safe here,” said Todrick Hall. “Bringing Alice in WeHoLand to life, and now seeing these fantastic images on City sidewalks, has been amazing. I think this campaign has gotten people talking and paying more attention.”

The video features a vibrant cast of characters with drag queens, gym-bunnies, models, go-go boys, and fierce dancers who perform a pulsating choreographed routine in West Hollywood’s iconic Rainbow Crosswalks, as well as other recognizable locations in the City. The campaign also includes a series of outdoor, print, and online advertising.

The installation of sidewalk illustrations is part of the Education component of a three-part plan for pedestrian safety — Engineering, Education, and Enforcement — which was adopted by the West Hollywood City Council in October 2014.

In late 2014, the City installed Variable Message Signs — trailer-mounted programmable signs that urge drivers to slow down for a Crosswalk Safety Zone along Santa Monica Boulevard. The City also implemented a “pedestrian phase” on every signal cycle for Friday and Saturday nights at crosswalks located at Santa Monica Boulevard/San Vicente Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard/Robertson Boulevard.

In January 2015, the City rolled out short-term measures to improve unsignalized crosswalks along Santa Monica Boulevard. Enhancements included: 1) In-street pedestrian crosswalk signage, which are bright neon yellow vertical signs posted at street-center to warn drivers that it is “State Law to Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk,” and 2) Reflective raised pavement markers installed at the leading edge of crosswalks, which help to alert motorists of crosswalk locations and slow traffic. Locations of these improvements are along Santa Monica Boulevard at 10 crosswalks.

Deputies from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station’s Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) team and Community Impact Team (CIT) have been conducting a special crosswalk operation at various locations throughout the City, as well.

Upcoming measures include completion of studies to determine the extent of potential engineering improvements that can enhance safety. The City is considering a plan to install new traffic and pedestrian signals at current uncontrolled crosswalks on Santa Monica Boulevard between San Vicente Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard at West Knoll Drive, Westmount Drive, Hancock Avenue, and Palm Avenue.