Why L.A. has a painted, black, plastic crosswalk

Written by J, a, C, k, , r, , , i, b, e, y, , , ns, , n, t, r, y, , u, t, , , i, , . Ever wondered why cameras…

Why L.A. has a painted, black, plastic crosswalk

Written by J, a, C, k, , r, , , i, b, e, y, , , ns, , n, t, r, y, , u, t, , , i, , .

Ever wondered why cameras at a pedestrian crossing near your house are black? What to do when you see colorful metal paneling stretching across a wall?

In a word: darkness.

A metal frame made of flexible, translucent metal called tinted vanadium silicate (TPS) covers the fascia of a crosswalk in Los Angeles, California, to disguise pedestrian signals as it waits for funding to be awarded to fix the crosswalk.

Photo credit: Los Angeles Department of Transportation

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) is currently waiting for a $2.2 million City Council appropriation. The department was originally looking for $3.8 million dollars from the City Council back in 2016. Funding for the problem has been submitted back and forth between the Council and the Department of Finance since 2015.

But a time frame for when the money may finally come is still unknown. The Council still has to vote on the appropriation, and then the money has to be secured from the City’s General Fund.

LADOT spokesperson Norma Lopez-Mills said, “At this point, our paint is being evaluated by City staff as we wait for a funding allocation.”

However, Lopez-Mills did say the agency is working on solutions to the issue.

“We are aware of the concerns,” she said. “We are communicating with our business partners who are concerned with the quality of our traffic signals, and are updating this issue on our

construction update list. Until we have a funding allocation from the City Council, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to cover the cost of this project.”

The panel hanging above the crosswalk was previously a live wire, but after experiencing a fire on the property where the crosswalk sits, LADOT temporarily covered it with the tinted vanadium silicate in June 2018.

Now, the TPS panel sits straight up on top of the sharp-edged wall next to the turnstile. With any luck, Lopez-Mills says, LADOT will soon get the power to replace the yellow, white and green traffic lights that were once right below the TPS panel. The lights are now out of order.

Lopez-Mills added that the tinted vanadium silicate panel was installed as a temporary fix.

“As the City explores all of its options for improving visibility in traffic signals, this temporary solution is a valuable asset in ensuring we avoid accidental tripping,” Lopez-Mills said.

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