Five eye-grabbing mid-block crosswalks on Pine Avenue between First and Seventh Street are serving as more than just safety enhancers for Downtown pedestrians. They are also interactive artworks because, of course, you can walk on them.

Designed by artist Hataya Tubtim and painted by Precision Coatings, Inc. (PCI), the vibrant crosswalks are unified by a “City On The Sea” theme, which is evoked by an impressionistic juxtaposition of oceanic and industrial images. The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) opted to stick with the existing theme it had commissioned for Tubtim in 2017. It was Downtown’s first crosswalk art project.

“We knew the crosswalks were due for maintenance,” explained Stephanie Gonzalez, DLBA’s Placemaking Manager. “We had invested in Hataya’s original stencils and were hoping to use them in 2020 for the re-paint, but our plans were changed due to the pandemic.”

COVID-related issues, such as the unavailability of the special paint and a scheduling back-up at PCI, impacted the timing of the project, but it actually worked out well. Downtown foot traffic is increasing, and the freshened-up Pine Avenue Creative Crosswalks add to the “welcome back” feeling on the street.

The crosswalks also add to Tubtim’s Downtown artistic presence; Her list of past projects includes a 45-foot interactive interior wall mural at The Armory on Seventh Street which was used as an educational tool during field trip visits by local children. Tubtim also participated in the popular Downtown event SoundWalk a few years ago as part of the performance collective Pedestal and the All Girl Band.

The Creative Crosswalks program is another example of DLBA’s place management initiatives to make Downtown more accessible and inviting, taking its place among DLBA programs such as colorful wayfinding signage, street banners, tree planting, and annual holiday wreaths and decorations. Initially created as a pilot program designed to last three years, the Pine Avenue Creative Crosswalks seem destined to last much longer than that due to their popularity.

“We are proud to see these crosswalk works of art looking brand new,” said Gonzalez. “They are such a distinctive, personal way to add to the safety and sparkle of the Downtown pedestrian experience.”