#1 By: Cory Doctorow, December 27th, 2013 18:04
#2 By: Jonathan Badger, December 27th, 2013 18:09
As a frequent pedestrian myself, I don't really have a problem with enforcing traffic laws for pedestrians, who after all should follow the rules just as drivers and cyclists do. If you want to see a real war on pedestrians, take a look at San Diego. There, numerous intersections say "No Pedestrian Crossing" and want you to walk blocks out of your way to use the few available crosswalks.
#3 By: Ignatius, December 27th, 2013 18:15
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what "flashing red" means in this context but I'm pretty sure I never make it through my most common intersection on foot before that happens. (It's a dangerous intersection with tons of shitty impatient drivers who are one day soon gonna kill me through criminal negligence ... and it's not timed long enough for sprinting foot traffic.)
The idea that we need more stringent enforcement of pedestrian traffic laws is one that sounds good in theory. But what we really need is to rethink the way we do traffic so it's more friendly to pedestrians. Then there won't be so many rules broken. Unless you're Boston. x_x I like Boston just fine but pedestrians there are fearless. Spent two days there and accidentally caught some life-endangering pedestrian habits.
#4 By: Fascinoma, December 27th, 2013 18:16
Sounds like they're suddenly enforcing it, which is catching people off-guard.
#5 By: Neil Winkelmann, December 27th, 2013 18:17
That sounds nasty. But we do live a car-centric society. To those that choose to cycle or walk, drivers typically just say through their actions (and more than occasionally, literally)....
"Go fuck yourself. How dare you get in my way? And you don't pay for the privilege of using roads. And anyway, what sort of idiot doesn't drive a car all the time? You must be some sort of dope-smoking hippy. My SUV is my 'murken right. It's in the constitution, stupid".
Politicians know this is how most people think.
#6 By: David Forbes, December 27th, 2013 18:42
They probably mean entering the intersection when the thing is blinking red. The trouble starts because the lights are timed for slower walkers, and many folks typically walk 30-50% faster than the timer assumes.
To give them their due, cops love to make easy money.
#7 By: Ignatius, December 27th, 2013 18:47
Certainly hope you're right. I don't dilly dally in that intersection. It's an outright run and I still barely make it.
They do love their money.
#8 By: Bryce Bauer, December 27th, 2013 19:03
They do mean you cannot enter the crosswalk after the red light starts blinking. The article explicitly states that, and the fine amount for two different cities.
The problem here that nobody is mentioning is that Los Angeles is not Chicago or New York or London or Paris. It's massive. It's spread out with huge wide roads and massive highways heading in every direction.
This city was not built when land was at a premium and it's not relegated to a floating hunk of granite and it was developed shortly after the automocar was made widely available to the general public for cheap. Just watch Chinatown and you'll understand.
#9 By: Ignatius, December 27th, 2013 19:08
I did some walking in LA not that long ago. Admittedly, visiting for 5 days on business isn't the same as living there but I know what you're talking about at least in general terms. Maybe it's just the limited nature of my experience with it but I really don't think it's necessary to make life a fearful nightmare for pedestrians rather than changing the way traffic works there.
Especially given what a dramatically terrible place LA is to drive around in right now.
#10 By: Trinoculus Films, December 27th, 2013 19:11
Just a couple hours ago, I was waiting to cross the street in Downtown LA at a pedestrian crossing midway between two blocks. As both an LAPD squad car and an LA Sheriff car watched to see if I would jaywalk, I waited for a two minutes before I was given a walk signal and oncoming traffic was given a flashing red light.
I stepped into the intersection and was nearly hit by a driver who ran the light. The police did not react at all, and did not pursue the driver who almost hit a pedestrian. In fact the Sheriff did not break eye contact with me even as I loudly asked him why he wouldn't stop the driver who almost hit me. He just glared menacingly at me and drove off as I approached his car.
#11 By: bombblastlightningwaltz, December 27th, 2013 19:13
While in Quebec City, it was amazing seeing people jaywalk onto semi busy streets, pedestrians and cars seemed too move in unison. It seemed more of a consideration then an obligation as they intersected. Then again, they are Francophones of a differing culture accommodation for their fellow person then the english types.
Cash grab. Some intersections are timed too flash 'red hand' almost as soon as it turned 'Go'. Up the street from me, the cops are always pulling overr 'Wrong Turn' drivers.A nice lite sting really. They have the best hiding spot covering the venue with 3 patrol cars. The spotter, the intercept, the back up. Nailing automobilers daily.
The greatest problem with traffic and pedestrian intersection is with the visually impaired. Lights do not work for. Sound registry and patience of drivers is paramount.
#12 By: W S, December 27th, 2013 19:17
To be honest, inconsiderate pedestrian traffic is an issue. Large busy streets in the downtown area can be convoluted enough to safely navigate without someone popping out unexpectedly. Jaywalking is extremely dangerous and in a society that abhors drunk driving I can't understand why a fully lucid jaywalker should get a pass while endangering everyone around them. A misjudged jaywalk can cause tragedy just the same. There are obviously situations where common sense says it is safe (two lane streets, residential neighborhoods, etc) but downtown is rarely a safe place to play in traffic.
Starting to cross after the hand starts flashing, while traditionally unenforced, is still reasonable to crack down on. Traffic can be abysmal downtown and when pedestrians get caught in the middle of a crosswalk when the light turns green, it only makes the situation worse.
While $200 is not a pittance, I would hardly call it excessive or harsh. It's meant to act as a deterrent and I'm sure over time it will.
#13 By: Rob, December 27th, 2013 19:25
#14 By: Jacki Huber, December 27th, 2013 19:27
It is a deterrent that works, at least in Seattle. Nobody jaywalks downtown because they might get a ticket and everybody knows someone who did get a ticket. It's why we'll wait for a light to change even in the middle of the night when it's raining and there's no traffic!
#15 By: Daemonworks, December 27th, 2013 19:28
I tentatively approve of this on the basis that most of the time those laws are only enforced against the most disadvantaged portions of the population. Guess they got tired of ticketing the homeless and nearly-homeless people who had absolutely no way to pay the fines.
#16 By: SpaceDoggity, December 27th, 2013 19:43
There's a fundamental difference between drivers' respective perceptions of bicyclists and pedestrians, and that's due the fact that the overwhelming majority of drivers are, at least occasionally, pedestrians. It's foolish to design a parking lot, for example, without carefully weighing the needs of drivers vs. the needs of pedestrians, given that the purpose of parking lots is to allow people to switch roles from driver to pedestrian and back. It's far easier for most drivers to curse bicyclists when they haven't ridden since childhood.
#17 By: gwailo_joe, December 27th, 2013 20:27
This irritates me. If you want to cite jaywalkers for blatant, non-crosswalk, mid-block crossings...OK. Not the best use of police powers IMO...but 'public safety, traffic flow, revenue etc etc' Fine. Got it.
But so what if the red hand starts blinking? You don't know how fast I move John Law! I don't much like it when pedestrians straggle past the front of my truck when the light is green in my favor, so I make solid effort to avoid that same situation when I'm walking.
Frail oldsters and those with prams/toddlers get a tolerant pass. Healthy people who don't bother to increase their pace get a grumbled 'hustle up you bum'. But...never a horn. That would be rude. Ticketing those inconsiderate types I have no problem with...
This seems more like a 'gotcha' rules-infraction ploy...and that's lame.
#18 By: rider, December 27th, 2013 20:35
How is it gotcha? You don't enter the crosswalk when it's flashing red or you get a ticket.
I should be able to break the law because I think I walk faster.
#19 By: Timothy, December 27th, 2013 20:43
Growing up in L.A. (I'm 44) I always knew I was likely to get a jaywalking ticket and got several warnings. But it seemed like the pay off was that drivers were extremely careful of pedestrians. Never spent any time downtown, but in Valley that seemed to hold. And over the years there have been comparisons between jaywalking tickets in L.A. and various east coast cities.
Guess I'm saying, this isn't new.
Driving culture seems to have changed a bit since then, but it's still one of the most polite places I've driven. Ignatius mentioned Boston, you don't get to move if you don't drive offensively there.
#20 By: Warren Terra, December 27th, 2013 20:56
My first day in LA county, a few years back, everyone in my new workplace was talking about a friend who'd just gotten a $400 ticket for jaywalking. Apparently it counts as a moving violation, and is punished severely.
Parking fines are affordable, though
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