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Streets: At a Glance

Quick, Cheap and Effective: Zebra-Striped Crosswalks

Friday, February 20, 2015

You’re not imagining things … crosswalks throughout San Francisco are getting a bold, new look. What was once just two white lines the width of a street is now being upgraded with bolder, white stripes that make crosswalks more visible. One glance at the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover illustrates the impact of this design.

Zebra-striped crosswalks welcome pedstrians at 16th and Guererro.Zebra-striped crosswalks welcome pedstrians at 16th and Guererro. Jan. 6, 2015

This “continental” striping style, also known as “zebra-striped” or “ladder” crosswalks, makes pedestrians more visible to drivers and is much more effective at getting drivers to stop for pedestrians.

Until recently, the SFMTA has primarily implemented these high-visibility crosswalks near schools and at mid-block crosswalks. Our goal now is to gradually enhance all crosswalks with this pattern. So far we’ve repainted hundreds of them on streets like Geary Boulevard, 3rd Street and Guerrero Street.

This measure is one example of a quick, cheap and smart way to prevent pedestrian injuries. Solutions like these are part of our efforts to eliminate all traffic fatalities in San Francisco by 2024, a goal called Vision Zero.

If you want to see some research on the effectiveness of these crosswalks, be sure to check out this “techbrief” from the Federal Highway Administration.