I came upon this video about diagonal crosswalks on the Streetsblog.org site recently, about the addition of some diagonal crosswalks in Los Angeles:
Diagonal crosswalks are pretty self explanatory: When created at a four-way intersection, they create one big crosswalk in the intersection instead of the standard four crosswalks at each side of the intersection. This type of crosswalk works well in areas with a lot of foot and bike traffic. In addition to decreasing travel times for pedestrians, the biggest advantage of diagonal crosswalks is that they eliminate turning traffic which makes things safer for everybody.
These types of crosswalks are seen in some bigger cities in America (New York, San Francisco, etc) and around the world (Tokyo comes to mind). Is there anywhere in little old Portland that would benefit from this type of crosswalk? I could definitely see it working at several intersections along Commercial Street, which is already a pedestrian friendly area. Congress Street would be another logical area, perhaps at Congress Square or Monument Square. Feel free to comment with your ideas.