I was reading the comment section of the New Haven Independent (I promise I am real person and not the pen name of Josh) on their latest article about the police suddenly cracking down on jaywalking at the intersection of Chapel and Church Streets.
According to the article, policemen were issuing $92 fine for crossing when the light was red, outside of the crosswalk, or probably my favorite, for crossing diagonally when the pedestrians had an all cross signal. People commenting were even more angry than the people fined.
To be quite honest, I was here for that. Love a good online mob!
Most of the comments were about how very unfair it is to do this during holiday season. I get it. With all the gifts one needs to buy, including the one for my idiot aunt who emailed my husband and I to asked us to sign a petition against gay marriage, money is tight! But people, it is the season for giving!
(So I guess we’re divorced now… ?)
Last year, the City of New Haven decided the worst thing you can do is give money to the nice homeless person at the corner of your coffee shop.
Instead, you should give money to the fake yellow parking meter in front of him. Did you feel the jolly holiday spirit warm you as you were feeding a parking meter in front of someone who could have used your dollar right now? Yeah, me neither.
And this year too, always at the cutting edge of progressive policies, New Haven put in place a new convenient way to give! By diagonally crossing to your local convenience store when the pedestrian signal is clear, a nice police agent will meet you to collect your donation.
Sadly, no yelling or arguing will help because while crossing diagonally looks safe when all the cars are stopped and you physically do not have time to cross the two wide street with this 10-second timer, it is still an infraction to the section 14-300b-b of the Connecticut Law About Pedestrians, “No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by police officer”.
The second thing you could read in the comments, was the cracking down (note the irony of a crack down by the green, this article is writing itself!) on jaywalking at targeted intersections outside of the Yale campus. And to these people I say: stop being cry babies! When a student was fined $75 for jaywalking in 2018 (inflation was apparently 22% this year), the New Haven Register wrote a Pulitzer-worthy 23 word article, and no outcry in the comment section!
But now that non-Yale people are targeted, the New Haven Register climbs on their non-jaywalking high horses with a 1,300+ word piece? Damn you privileged people with the press on your side!
To bring seriousness to this topic, I do not care it it’s the holidays or if it’s a Yale vs Townie thing. In New Haven this year alone, there were 133 collisions involving pedestrians (including 7 killed, and 14 seriously injured) and 33 involving cyclists.
These numbers are probably conservative estimates. I am sure there are plenty more unreported accidents, like when I got door’ed while riding my bicycle. I understand law enforcement is trying to address and reduce accident and death.
However, regardless of honorable goal to reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, this new experiment (enabled by the generous $15,000 grant from Watch Over Me CT – they could have just taken the money and run with it instead of having to fine more than 163 people to break even!) is putting in danger the most vulnerable people in New Haven.
We are talking about having law enforcement choosing for their week-long experiment the crosswalk between the CVS and Dollar Tree, not between 360 State and the farmers market.
If I get fined $92, yes I would be upset, of course I would angrily tweet about it, but I am lucky I can afford to pay. Not everyone is so lucky, and certainly not everyone who rides the bus or walks to work. I am sure they would gladly avoid the issue by driving if they could.
Instead, this expensive, poorly-timed fine issued all week will make things extremely difficult for those already struggling with money. (The police have since begun issuing warnings, instead, but that doesn’t help those who were already fined.)
The article and the pictures taken for the piece reflect the vulnerable classes of people fined. One “offender” worried the infraction might jeopardize their parole. Another suggested to the reporter police are simply using this as an excuse to check people’s ID.
What about people without ID’ss, refugees, homeless people, transgender person with their ID not necessarily matching their expression? The most vulnerable people might not survive the interaction with law enforcement.
I am not defending “crime”, but preaching for safety in such an ill manner is also a crime.
Maybe jaywalking far from an intersection where you can spot incoming traffic is safer than crossing at the crosswalk when the cars are turning fast on red without looking. Maybe implementing safer roads with slower traffic would allow for safer crossing.
It does not have to be expensive. Studies and trials have shown a simple and fast coat of paint is all it takes to redesign street and make cities safer for pedestrians.
Maybe everyone fined or warned will now use their cars to go downtown because hitting a pedestrian is now more affordable than crossing the street.