I think we can file this under “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”
Is this a legal crosswalk in California?
I don’t believe this mid-block crossing on Stewart Lane, Santa Clara, CA fits the definition of a crosswalk in California. Here’s the standard from the 2012 CA MUTCD:
When crosswalk lines are used, they shall consist of solid white lines that mark the crosswalk. They shall not be less than 12 inches or greater than 24 inches in width.
There’s another two full pages of small print providing guidance, support, and options, but no mention that the foot wide solid white lines can be replaced with contrasting strips of concrete and paving bricks.
The Federal Highway Administration even addresses this on their Frequently Asked Questions about the MUTCD:
Q: My city is trying to make the downtown area more aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian-friendly. We are installing brick sidewalks, benches, trees, and other “streetscaping” features along the business district streets. As part of the project, we plan to install brick pavers or other similar treatments to serve as the crosswalks at intersections. Can this type of crosswalk meet the MUTCD requirements?
A: The brick pavers alone would not constitute a legal crosswalk. White pavement marking lines must be used to officially establish a legal crosswalk. As discussed in Chapter 3G of the 2009 MUTCD (Colored Pavements), brick pavers and colored decorative paving treatments that simulate brick or other patterns may be used between the white crosswalk lines. However, colors that degrade the contrast of the white crosswalk lines with the adjoining areas and colors that might be mistaken by road users as a traffic control application should not be used for this purpose. So, for example, the standard colors of red and yellow used for STOP signs and warning signs should not be used, nor should the colors white and yellow used for pavement marking lines. Also, retroreflective colored pavements of any color or pattern are prohibited between crosswalk lines.
Practically, this looks like a crosswalk, and pedestrians and drivers in this neighborhood treat this like a mid-block crosswalk on a very low traffic residential dead end street. Fools and angels can tread safely here, with only the occasional maniac driver rushing too quickly through his own neighborhood.