Op-Ed: L.A. invented jaywalking tickets to serve cars. It’s time to give streets back to walkers
Stoner took it on the chin. So did the rest of Los Angeles when a city council on May 10 approved the first-of-its-kind ordinance that would have limited jaywalking by requiring pedestrians to cross against traffic in two designated crosswalks, one for bicycles and one for pedestrians. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Eric Mar caught a ride on a buzz saw — Stoner called them for it. He compared it to an automobile speeding ticket.
“It’s a classic example of government overkill,” Stoner said. “Why not just have a couple of crosswalks and just let the driver have the right-of-way?”
As Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office put it in a letter to Mar:
City Council Members Eric Mar and Eric Holder are not pleased about the city’s decision to enact a new jaywalking law designed to make it harder for people to cross in the street.
“The Los Angeles Police Department spends millions of dollars each year enforcing a law that is already enforced by hundreds of other cities. The law is not working very well to solve the problem of jaywalking, which is why we are asking you not to pass this measure,” the May 8 letter said.
Council and Mayor have been pushing jaywalking laws since 2006. The city has had a crosswalk on each of its main streets since 1968, but drivers have long thought that jaywalking was just a problem of tourists and locals. Councilman Eric Holder had proposed a crosswalk on West Third Street in 2005.
But a few days after Councilman Holder’s proposal, Mayor Jerry Baer opposed the crosswalk when he said it would be expensive and that pedestrians would be in danger. The City Council passed a resolution in support of Mar’s crosswalk in June 2006.
Police have said the crosswalks on Main Street, Olympic Boulevard and Washington Boulevard are effective. They have cited studies showing that a pedestrian in the crosswalk is less likely to walk out into traffic, get hit by a car and get struck by a car than a pedestrian who crosses against traffic in the street.
The Crosswalk on West Third Street, which was supported by Councilman Holder, is also now supported by city council members Mar,