If you frequent Montana Avenue then you’ve probably noticed the increase in a police presence here over the last few weeks. Recently, we’ve been seeing daily “failure to yield for pedestrian” sting operations around our busiest crosswalks.
Most likely the reason for this increased attention comes from the December 2010 death of a 66-year-old man while crossing at a crosswalk at Wilshire and 10th in Santa Monica. Being that I work on Montana Avenue, I am both a daily driver and pedestrian on the street often crossing at unlit crosswalks anywhere from four to ten times a day. As such, I appreciate the police presence.
When I use crosswalks, I always try to make eye contact with drivers to be sure they are aware of my crossing, but even then it is important to be ready for anything. I must admit, I have dodged and shouted at a few cars over the years.
However, I can’t help but feel sympathy for the drivers I see getting pulled over. With all the activity on the street sometimes it is difficult to determine a pedestrian’s intent to cross. Often I stop and wait for a person at the corner only to realize they are on their cell phone and enjoying the sun, with no plans to cross the street anytime soon. I still play it safe and stop at any indication someone may begin walking into the road. The risk of a ticket, or much worse, is just too high of a price for the lost minute or so it takes to yield.
My dream for our bustling street would, of course, be lit or angled crosswalks. Until then, please be sure to stay alert and be careful, both walking and driving.
What kinds of experiences have you had as a pedestrian or driver lately? Have you ever been pulled over for failing to yield at a crosswalk? Please share your comments below and get the conversation going.