Late last year the LAPD's Central Bureau started cracking down on jaywalking in Downtown, issuing tickets ranging from prohibitively expensive ($190) to highway robbery ($250) for offenses as minor as stepping off the curb during the countdown clock. We and many, many others called "bullshit," and it is: Jaywalking was invented in the early twentieth century (mostly via public shaming) as part of a campaign to redefine streets as places for cars and only cars; Los Angeles is just managing to shake off the decades it allowed the auto industry to define its public spaces, and Downtown in particular has been enjoying a no-car-necessary renaissance—why on earth would the city want to keep criminalizing pedestrianism? (And at such high rates!) Moreover, the LAPD justifies these tickets with straight-up victim blaming, claiming they're for the benefit of public safety. There were four deaths in the division last year in accidents involving a car and a pedestrian, and it probably wasn't the drivers who were killed. (And don't forget that just a couple weeks ago an LAPD driver mowed down a sixtysomething pedestrian while chauffeuring the mayor through Downtown.) The LAPD assured angry locals at a meeting last week that the LAPD is totally looking into doing something or other but really they're probably not going to make any changes anytime soon: Captain Ann Young, who oversees the Central Bureau's Traffic Division, said that her bureau could issue warnings or reduce fees, but "This might be something down the road … it's going to take a lot of data gathering, a lot of research." And: "We don't have anything to do with the costs [which are set by the city] ... but we agree they're quite expensive." The LAPD sympathizes with you, walkers, but they also promise to keep issuing tickets, even for being in the street during the countdown clock, according to the paper.
Downtown residents, meanwhile, didn't seem to get any response at the meeting to their complaints about cars running red lights and speeding through the neighborhood, sometimes at more than 50 mph.
So far this year there have been 18 "pedestrian-automobile collisions," or, as people with some humanity might say it, "18 times that cars hit people."
· Community, Police Still Divided Over Jaywalking Tickets [DN]
· The LAPD's $250 Jaywalking Tickets Are Total Bullshit [Curbed LA]