City Considers Colorful Crosswalks to Improve Safety

As part of a study of whether decorative crosswalks could improve traffic safety, Public Works Department crews will install two rainbow-colored crosswalks in front of City Hall and the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market during Pride Month in June. 

During the April 9 Arts and Culture Commission meeting, Transportation Planner Jessie Holzer Carpenter told the commission the sites were chosen because they are busy locations with a “history of driver noncompliance in yielding to pedestrians.”  

“We think that given these details, the two intersections would be perfect study locations to determine if decorative crosswalks can improve drivers yielding to pedestrians and therefore improve safety, and then could potentially be expanded to other areas throughout the city,” Holzer Carpenter said. 

Holzer said the crosswalks would cost between $5,000-$10,000, including the before and after tests of driver behavior. She added that she is also seeking approval from the Human Relations Commission and anticipates the crosswalks to be installed in May if both commissions approve.  

The commissioners were unanimously supportive of the proposal, though they had some questions about the specifics. 

Responding to a question from Chair Maralee Beck, Holzer Carpenter said that to measure compliance at the crosswalk staff would hire a contractor to collect and review video footage at the crosswalks and detail their findings in a report.   

In response to a question from Commissioner Deborah Frank, Holzer Carpenter said, “We have not considered what the next [steps] would be. We want to test this first and see.”   

May is also Jewish American Heritage Month, and during the April 9 meeting Recreation Supervisor Corinna Lesser previewed the city’s JAHM programming. As with last year, the Farmers’ Market will be a central hub of JAHM events.  

The festivities will kick off with a rugelach baking contest during the May 5 market, which will also feature musical performances by the klezmers and kid-friendly crafts and face painting, Lesser said.

The fun continues after the market ends, as visitors can walk to the nearby Beverly Hills Public Library for a children’s themed story hour at 1 p.m., Lesser said.  

Arts and storytelling are central components of Jewish culture, and in celebration of the Jewish American artistic tradition, May 5 will also mark the opening of a monthlong installation at the library by Jenny Yurshansky, a visual artist who draws heavily from her experience as a refugee.

On Feb. 9 and March 5, Yurshansky conducted workshops where participants explored their family’s origin story and used collage and other art materials to depict the journeys. Those stories were then scanned and turned into a quilt that will displayed at the library, Lesser said.  

The library will also host a Jewish Tales, Tunes and Tastes event on May 19, with additional programming spread out to institutions across the city. 

The Roxbury Community Center will host an art class on May 17, and writing workshops on May 1, 8, 15 and 22, and a showcase on May 29. “The Prince of Egypt” will be shown at Greystone Mansion on May 16, and “Celebrating Jewish Culture and the Importance of Allyships,” part of the Critical Conversations Series, will be held on May 28 at the City Hall Municipal Gallery. 

The April 9 meeting concluded with a work plan update, where the commissioners pressed for details about the reinstallation of “The Hymn of Tulips,” a sculpture by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama that was formerly in Beverly Park Gardens but has been undergoing refabrication since 2019. 

“The eternal question is because people always drive by there and say when [will the sculpture be back],” Maralee Beck said. 

Assistant Director of Community Services Patty Acuna said that staff does not yet have a date, adding that the process was slowed by the pandemic and a tedious, virtual authentication process. 

“Every piece has to be to the artist’s specification,” she said. 

She added that she will return to the commission next month with photos of the progress.