X marks the spot at the world famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, CA
There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.” ~ Luke 10:25-35 (The Message)
The intersection at Oxford Circus in London, England looks like a Celtic cross.
At some of Los Angeles' busiest intersections the crosswalks are getting a new look. (Insert joke here about how the vanity in L. A. is so over the top that even our streets are getting cosmetic surgery!)
For the last few years city planners have been doing more than just giving places like Hollywood and Vine a facelift. They are constantly seeking new ways ways to move people faster across streets without slowing down the gridlocked traffic anymore than it already is. Which seems kinda funny to me because traffic doesn't seem to move at all through some streets!
Instead of the usual square configuration (crossing from north to south in order to go west to east), these streetwise geniuses have begun to place walkways on the diagonal, creating an X pattern in the middle of the intersections so people can cut out a step (or corner) to get to where they need to go.
This isn’t new by any means, I’ve seen this approach in other cities around the world, like London and Rome. But it doesn't necessarily have to be something new or groundbreaking, if it will help the flow of human traffic move more freely and easier.
But this idea seems to speak to humans on a greater scale than just crossing the street. As we seek to build bridges between “us” and “them” we must also be willing to cross over them. The easier this is to do, the more likely it is that we will actually initiate the journey.
As we take those steps, and cross those streets, we become more than just the people on the other side. We become faces and flesh. We can look each other in the eye and get to know one another; share our stories, our peace, and perhaps even our resources.
When we are willing to cross the bridges and roads, we are allowing ourselves to be neighbors and we are opening ourselves up to be friends, family, and community.
But when one side walks north to south while the other side is crossing east to west, we continue to move away from one another, and our goal of being a united state or community. The way I see it, this new kind of street crossing removes us from the four corners and places us in the middle where we can meet one another and see each other close up.
There is still a lot of crossing the streets that needs to be done. But suffice it to say, "X" marks the spot where it can all begin.