Damn those pedestrians! They're such a public nuisance. Like pigeons and dog poop. An irate Koreatown resident and public transit rider writes in that the police are cracking down on walkers who cross the street mid-green light. Perhaps the police are trying to deter pedestrian accidents? Who knows. Here is our reader's report/Op-Ed:
"For the past week at the intersection of Wilshire and Vermont in Koreatown, squads of LAPD officers on foot and motorcycle have set up a sting operation been ticketing pedestrians for entering the crosswalk after the flashing hand has begun. Hiding behind metro maps, the cops wait until an unsuspecting pedestrian crosses the street after the flashing hand sign has appeared-- after being spotted, the cop on the opposite side corners the pedestrian and writes them up a ticket. I've heard-- but not yet confirmed-- that these tickets are in the neighborhood of $200-300." It's been causing a minor scene as police corner and ticket Korean grandmothers, mothers tugging children along, and area workers scuttling to their jobs. Pedestrians aren't even in the crosswalk when the light turns green for the cars—because they walk quickly and make it to the sidewalk before the light changes. There is no interruption in car traffic. Passersby stare in disbelief—while of course cars in the road continue making illegal turns, stopping in the crosswalks, and other infractions that are apparently of no concern to the LAPD.
Rather than ticket people for crossing the street when the hand is flashing, why can't the police politely and firmly explain that pedestrians should not enter the crosswalk after the hand is flashing? Or station themselves on the corner and stop pedestrians from crossing after the hand is flashing? Why can't the police act with more civility?
If you happen to make it into the plaza without getting a $300 jaywalking ticket, you're met by yet another phalanx of cops: this time County Sheriffs, who are ticketing people coming out of the Red Line Station. Rather than ask for tickets for those people coming in, and prohibiting them from entering without valid fare, they only ask those coming out. And security guards working for the Wilshire/Vermont development remind people waiting for buses that that can't actually wait on the private property, and must stay outside the ballisters that separate the sidwalk from the 'public' plaza. In fact the whole Wilshire/Vermont public plaza has become a gaunlet of various law enforcement agents harassing pedestrians for walking, sitting, standing, and getting on public transit.
Although observers such as LA Times writer Christopher Hawthorne and local residents have been eying the new public plaza at Wilshire with cautious hope that it will create new pedestrian-friendly spaces in our city in such desperate need of public space, is seems that instead Mike Davis' observation that "Los Angeles, as always in the vanguard, offers an especially disturbing guide to the emerging liaisons between urban architecture and the police state" seems disquietly and unfortunately accurate."