Highland Park residents are well aware of their neighborhood's historical monuments. The Southwest Museum, Lummis Home the Judson Studios and many other locales are points of local pride.
However, far less discussed is the fact that Highland Park was also home to important development in transportation history.
According to Transportation Topics and Tales: Milestones in Transportation History in Southern California by John E. Fisher, the intersection at North Figueroa and Meridian Streets is home to the first automated crosswalk.
According to Fisher, the crosswalk technology was developed by Ralph Dorsey, the city's first traffic engineer.
Risher writes that Dorsey was looking for a way to improve the safety of students crossing to Luther Burbank Junior High School and took advantage of recently invented traffic signal technology.
From Transportation Topics and Tales:
Dorsey could see the bureaucratic scenario unfolding before him–that his innovation in school pedestrian safety might be thwarted. Fortunately, the holiday season would intervene and the Board of Education request to the City Council would flow slowly through the City Clerk, Council Committee, Board of Commissioners and Dorsey’s office. The clock was ticking and Dorsey became energized.
By the time the official request reached his office he responded on January 14, 1929 that a pedestrian activated signal had already been installed at the intersection of Figueroa Street and Meridian Street, in front of Luther Burbank Junior High School. Accordingly, he politely, if not assertively, responded that the request be received and filed, which frustrated school and elected officials.
Add the stretch of pavement at Figueroa and Meridian to Highland Park's historical resume.
h/t to Josef Bray-Ali for the link.