Old Town Monrovia considers pedestrian flags

Old Town Monrovia considers pedestrian flags
flag stand

Pedestrian flags would be deposited in stands similar to this prototype. Photo courtesy of Soren Loft.

The Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board is considering the installation of a pedestrian flag system at intersections along Myrtle Ave. Although some have already raised the possibility of the bright yellow flags being stolen, designer and Advisory Board member Soren Loft believes it will make Monrovia a safer place.

“It’s a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem,” Loft said. “If it saves one human life, it’s worth it.”

The system would consist of movable wooden stands with flags on them. Businesses would wheel the stands out every morning, and pedestrians could take one to wave it over their heads as they cross the street. When they get to the other side, the flag would be returned to an identical stand. The entire system would cost the city about $250, and Loft says that four or five crosswalks are being considered.

For now, it’s up to the Advisory Board to put it on their agenda for the September 13 meeting. If they decide to move ahead, it will be up to the Public Services Department and the City Council to implement the program. Loft says this could take several months, as officials hammer out the details.

Loft, who owns the Old Town Bistro on Myrtle, came up with the idea after years of seeing vehicles narrowly avoid pedestrians outside his restaurant. Similar programs have launched in cities across the country, but the social stigma of waving a flag over one’s head frequently puts an end to them. Glendale’s implementation received a cool reaction last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I’m already used to knowing how to cross the street,” Glendale resident Vanessa Fuentes told the Times.

But not everyone in Monrovia feels the same as she.

“People really don’t watch out for pedestrians,” Realtor Millie Olivas said. “I don’t think it looks silly at all.”

Olivas works in Old Town Monrovia. If the program goes ahead, she would be one of the business owners responsible for a stand. She expects to use the system herself, but believes that the main concern should be theft.

“I think the flags are going to disappear,” she said.