downtown los angeles

Getting a Ticket for Jaywalking in Downtown LA: Drop it or Keep it?

Seen here in Jan 2012, an LAPD officer writes an unsuspecting jaywalker a ticket for crossing mid-block on 9th Street in Downtown LA

For someone who jaywalks whenever I am in Manhattan, I’ve always found it liberating and even empowering as a pedestrian to cross a street wherever and whenever I felt it was safe to do so. The process is simple: You look down the usual one way street, and if there are no cars coming, you cross. Even though it is technically illegal to jaywalk in New York, thousands upon thousands do it daily in Manhattan, adding to a sense of “urban legitimacy” because of the power of choice given to pedestrians and free will to roam. Occasionally, one out of a million jaywalkers in New York will receive a jaywalking ticket, but it’s so rare that a NY Post article quoted a retired NYPD cop of 25 years who said he “wouldn’t know how to write a jaywalking ticket.”

So it always irritates me back in LA to see LAPD cops stopping pedestrians for jaywalking and giving them tickets ($204 a pop according to some unlucky pedestrians). And some LAPD cops have been especially egregious by even giving jaywalking tickets for just stepping off the curb if the red hand signal and countdown timer begins, even if it’s still perfectly safe to cross. Given the large blocks in LA, is it really reasonable to ask someone to walk all the way to a crosswalk when they can cross the street mid-block to get to their destination faster?

Perhaps we should also do a better job at separating people from cars in Downtown LA where the largest concentration of pedestrians exist in LA. A few ideas include making it illegal for a car to turn right on red in Downtown LA as well as adding scatter/diagonal crossings at many busy intersections. Scatter crossings allow people and cars to move through the intersection at completely separate times, and for pedestrians, in any direction they want to walk, including diagonally. You see these scatter crossings locally in areas like Old Town Pasadena, Beverly Hills, and Westwood/UCLA — anywhere with a fair amount of pedestrians traffic. The largest scatter crossing in the world happens to be in Tokyo in the famous Shibuya district.

As Downtown LA continues to densify with more urban infill developments and pedestrian counts increase dramatically, it is my hope that our LAPD cops will take a cue from the NYPD and turn a blind eye when someone decides to cross the street mid-block.

[UPDATE: 10/26/12 – “An argument for jaywalking” in Downtown LA is published on The Week. To read the full article, click here


  1. Rakhee says

    Some people are dumb and will get run over by the millions of cars that still speed through downtown. Maybe when people are smarter, cops can stop ticketing.

    I like this approach better anyway:

    Cop to me after he watched as I jaywalked across the street during DTLA artwalk: Can you do me a favor? (said VERY VERY Nicely)
    Me: Sure?
    Cop: can you please use the cross walk next time?
    Me: okay! Sorry!

  2. Clark says

    I agree 100% – this is a silly waste of resources for our LAPD and it discourages people from getting out of their cars for the 5 block walk to the store, etc. How about stopping the drivers that don’t stop at a red light and just continue on to make their right turn. How about stopping drivers that run the red light honking, as though that makes it OK that they’re alerting you to the fact that they’re running the light (especially the buses)?
    Why are pedestrians being targeted in a city that doesn’t walk?
    I know they need to make extra money, and jaywalking tickets is a source of income, but driving infractions will stimulate MUCH more revenue for the LAPD.
    Now, jaywalkers that get in the way of cars… that’s a different story. Crossing Spring St. when there’s no cars within a block, legitimate!

  3. Robert Diaz says

    Tickets for jaywalking are at best anti-urban & at times a sign of authoritarianism. Yes, the LAPD should take a cue from the NYPD and not ticket for jaywalking.

  4. Lawrence says

    The LAPD will need to adjust its policies to a changing Downtown L.A. It’s the largest area in the region that’s actually built for people and as more attractions, dining and shopping options come downtown, you can bet more people will cross the street as they need to if it looks safe, making jaywalk enforcement both difficult and pointless. More effort should be spent on citing drivers that clearly ignore traffic laws and Metro buses that think Honking their horns loudly as they speed through red lights somehow makes it okay that they’re potentially threatening the lives of pedestrians.

  5. Rohan says

    Jaywalking is encouraged in New York. I have literally been a stupid tourist in New York and had a cop say “Cross the f***** street, your holding things up.”
    That said, in New York it is much safer to jaywalk for three reasons:

    1. Shorter Streets
    2. Drivers are more accustom to pedestrians and more specifically jaywalkers.
    3. No right turns on red. It is illegal.

    Even though I’m a frequent jaywalker (and overall aggressive pedestrian) in DTLA, I think it can be risky.

    While the first two are difficult to change, #3 is something that DTLA is really starting to need.

    • I agree, moved out here to cali from ny, and was shocked to see drivers turnin on red, I was honked at the light when driving not knowing u can turn on red, thts dangerous!! Why can’t cali see tht.

  6. Theoretically, police should not really need to enforce this unless people blatantly create a dangerous situation for the driver and the pedestrian. With that said the police are probably somewhat required to ticket you because large numbers of homeless will literally walk in directly in front of moving traffic, for whatever reason (control?). If police need to have the ability to arrest the homeless for creating unsafe situations then, to be fair, they probably have to arrest or ticket everyone who jaywalks, otherwise they will be scrutinized for singling out the homeless. ANYTIME I am in downtown LA I can stand at the corner of 5th & Spring, 5th & Main or 5th & Los Angeles and count dozens of homeless walking blatantly in front of moving traffic. This irritates me more than the police writing their tickets because I know this behavior is ruining the situation for everyone. I’ve never seen this kind of behavoir in either New York or Chicago. The protections the homeless get in this city empower them to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise get away with elsewhere.

    • Bill from Silver Lake says

      Yeah, the homeless are really empowered. They’re the population in American most likely to be murdered, robbed, raped, and assaulted, the most likely to have a serious undiagnosed disease, to be malnourished, and dehydrated, and to die from hypo- and hyperthermia. Paramedics will refuse to reply to calls regarding injured homeless because they don’t want to deal with their filth, and the cops don’t arrest them because what’s the point? They’re mentally ill, truly can’t gauge the consequences of their actions, and so they are rarely held over for trial even for relatively major offenses.

      Yeah, they really get away with a lot. And now someone will talk about how they’re just lazy, and could get help if they wanted it, and make up to $1000 bucks a day panhandling.

      • Bill is a dumbass says

        It has been reported that the LAPD does not ticket the homeless for jaywalking, rather, they target those who look like they can pay the fine. And as for getting away with stuff – they do. Shit on the street in front of LAPD gets you a blind eye if you are homeless. In fact, they can block the sidewalk and make other pedestrians walk onto the street and its ok, cause if LAPD asks them to move, its harassment. Wake the fuck up Bill.

  7. Crossing midblock is not necessarily illegal.

    21955 CVC – Crossing Between Controlled Intersections – Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.

  8. Tyler says

    204 g–damn dollars for jaywalking?!! That in itself is obscene and ridiculous. But no wonder cops are ticketing people for that horrible, unspeakable crime. Cops, in effect, are tax collectors, sort of a city-based version of the IRS on wheels or feet. And issuing tickets for the typical jaywalker is so easy compared with dealing with the grossness (including bad odors) of deranged homeless people or the potential danger posed by smart-mouthed homies.

    But at least the streets of downtown LA are quite clean, very appealing and just about devoid of the presence of loitering street beggars, or worse. And I’m sure most of the cops issuing jaywalking tickets in downtown live in urban LA, and not out in Simi Valley, Riverside or Fullerton. Yes, uh-huh.

  9. Shabaz says

    I know MOST Angelenos’ frame of reference is NYC when it comes to urbanity, in general. However, as a former resident and/or visitor of other urban parts of the USA (and the rest of the world, for that matter) I have to say jaywalking enforcement in Los Angeles is about as ridiculous as I’ve seen anywhere else — that includes police states like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Switzerland, btw. Its obvious its done for revenue generation but its most damaging effects are keeping pedestrians from being pedestrians. I remember when I was an undergrad at USC, I’d hear stories of cops giving students jaywalking tickets for jaywalking a block away from campus. I’d imagine they were late for class and were only trying to keep from being tardy — not holding up traffic or causing some major accident!

    People in Chicago, Boston, Philly, DC jaywalk just as much as New Yorkers — San Francisco, a little less but it still happens openly. LA is the only major city where people are scared to do it and it holds people back from wanting to walk places (even to park a few blocks away). This effect can keep patrons away from businesses on the wrong side of the street or keep pedestrian activity away from sketchy streets (including dtla ones) making them even more blighted than they deserve.

    I agree with some people, use the same police resources to catch careless drivers and leave the pedestrians alone. They already have enough going against them in this sprawled out metropolis.

  10. i jaywalk all the time and have been stopped once by a cop. i gave him a mindful and walked away without a ticket. its ridiculous and very aggravating that the LAPD and Sheriffs department continue to enforce this stupid law. i am an able bodied 31 year old. i can see when there are cars coming and i can analyze the risk myself. The police should go to skid row and enforce jaywalking down there, where the bums wander the streets like freaking zombies.

  11. brudy says

    155 pedestrians were killed in 2009 in NYC ( I’m sure they all thought they were smart enough to not get hit. And remember, a lot of jaywalking and light jumping is controlled by traffic, you can’t actually get across until the lights are in your favor.

    I also spent 4.5 long years in Boston where jaywalking is rampant. It creates chaos; I’ve seen people walk in front of firetrucks and ambulances. I also saw the aftermath of a pregnant woman who was killed while jaywalking when an suv backed up for a parking spot and hit her. Massachusetts has its own crazy rules about pedestrian right of way, which are extrapolated to the point where someone can think they can walk whenever, wherever they want. It makes driving often the equivalent of human frogger. If you want that in downtown LA, you’re nuts.

    It’s also a nightmare for cyclists, but nobody here in LA would ever think of that.

    Have any of you been to Germany? People never cross against the light or jaywalk. Tons of people bike, walk, and drive, all relatively safely. One of the things I like about LA is that people respect the lights. It’s a safety issue and makes the city feel like a city, not like some country backwater burgh.

  12. Gotta say, I’m not against cops giving tickets to people who use a crosswalk but cross after the red hand signal is flashing. It has nothing to do with the safety of pedestrians, but everything to do with traffic flow. One person taking their time crossing against a flashing red hand signal holds up the guy trying to make a right turn, the guy trying to make a left turn, and often times leads to someone driving through the intersection long after the light has turned red–which then delays the cross traffic (which has to wait longer to turn on a green arrow), etc. There’s honestly a snowball effect, as stupid as it sounds, and when you consider that most LA drivers aren’t paying attention to anything that’s happening more than 5 feet in front of them, one selfish pedestrian can cause a whole slew of problems. I watch it happen every day in downtown.

    • >One person taking their time crossing against a flashing red hand signal holds up the guy trying to make a right turn,

      turning on right at a light is illegal in NY, and should be in LA too where they are lots of pedestrians. It’s safer for populated areas.

  13. John G. says

    If there were more overpass walkways or underground crosswalks, there wouldn’t be the need for so many people to cross at surface level. And not so many cops wasting time for jaywalking tickets. We must pay them to go after the bigger fishes.

    Also, the density mix and spatial arrangements of retail, housing, work, and entertainment need to be thought out ahead of time with developers so that they (developers) can have just as much influence with businesses on where establishments are to be placed. Filling gaps where vacancies exist not only place random arrangements of where people want/need to go, it also causes people to travel like cars, walking everywhere where establishments are sprawled out.

  14. DawnC says

    Diagonal crosswalks really help clear out intersections in other parts of the city. There’s a few in Beverly Hills and it helps get the tourist pedestrians out of the way of cars wanting to turn left or right. The only problem is getting people to understand that they can’t always cross with the light and that cars can’t make a right turn during the time when all the crosswalks are active. When people get it, it really helps traffic flow. Maybe if a few of these existed at busy intersections in Downtown people would be less likely to jaywalk. More mid-block crosswalks could help too. Do homeless people actually get tickets for jaywalking? It seems like collecting fees would be difficult and arresting them seems a little extreme.

  15. John Mann says

    Jaywalking is a disaster for cyclists in particular. At UCLA, pedestrians are stupid enough to walk across against red lights at night when cars and cyclists have only 3 seconds to make a turn light. In addition, we have pedestrians that seem to walk whenever they want and then expect vehicles to respect their walk lights in return. Often I’m waiting to make a right turn, stopped at a red light. I am about to make it and I have some idiot jaywalker jump in front of me at the last minute. Then the walk signal changes and I have a flood of pedestrians. The jaywalking causes traffic chaos and now holds up traffic building behind me that wants to go straight, angers drivers with pedestrians, and generally makes jaywalkers appear to be completely selfish assholes. The irony is I walk as well, and I often cross faster using the lights than people jaywalking that started at the same point. Jaywalkers are just too stupid to realize that jaywalking doesn’t actually save them anytime, endangers themselves and other vehicle drivers, angers other users of the road, and creates traffic chaos.

  16. Stephen Brandt says

    One thing that Los Angeles has a fair amount of are alleys that are perpendicular to streets. These work to the Jaywalker’s advantage, although police will not point this out, and will ticket regardless. If you point this out to them, though, they will likely not write you a ticket:
    Alleys: What if there’s an alley (without traffic signals) between the two signal controlled intersections? An alley is a “roadway” and becomes the adjacent intersection. Therefore, you may generally cross anywhere along that roadway because the alley itself is not controlled by a traffic signal. See Vehicle Code §365 and §530. See also case of People v. Blazina (1976) 55 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 35.

  17. “And some LAPD cops have been especially egregious by even giving jaywalking tickets for just stepping off the curb if the red hand signal and countdown timer begins, even if it’s still perfectly safe to cross.”

    Been there. Couldn’t believe the officer had flashed his lights and siren and approached me when I got to the other side of the intersection. I thought it was for something else. I had just stepped into the crosswalk while the flashing hand started its 14 second countdown (which doesn’t include the additional 14 seconds the hand holds steady while the light remains red on this particular intersection). As he was writing me my $165 ticket, groups of people dangerously ran across the street under a steady hand sign. When I pointed this out, the cop said he couldn’t see them because he was “busy writing [me] a ticket.”

    Attempted a written appeal to–surprise, surprise–no avail.

    • julie says

      Has anyone FOUGHT one of these dtla ‘jaywalking’ tickets? i’m about to and any tips would be helpfull

  18. corner soul says

    The blocks downtown seem a lot longer than in most other cities, perhaps mid-block crosswalks are the answer. LA should be doing everything in it’s power to promote walking, motorists have been coddled in this city for far too long.

  19. brudy says

    Allowing jaywalking is not equal to promoting walking. That’s a false relationship. You say motorists have been coddled, which is true, but allowing freewheeling street crossing isn’t the answer either. What downtown needs is a balance between driving, cycling, and walking. This balance is maintained through observance of signals, bike lanes, laws. I don’t think cars should be able to make a right on red, that’s terrible for everybody not in a car. I don’t think bikes should be allowed on sidewalks, that’s also nuts for pedestrians. And pedestrians should do their part and follow basic common sense. Don’t jaywalk and don’t cross against the light.

    I don’t think though that cops should be ticketing people while the light is flashing, that seems crazy extreme. If you have the light, you have the light.

  20. Dan in LA says

    I TOTALLY concur.
    In considering a move to another city, I made a list of _pro vs con_ for each city…
    Funny, one of the _pros_ for the other city was that I could J-walk without fear or a ticket. It is an LA absurdity that a cop will ticket a J-walker while a city bus blows a red light _with a pedestrian_ in the crosswalk.(I have witnessed this happening in DTLA.) It is just a hidden tax…

  21. Clark says

    I agree with DawnC about diagonal crosswalks. I’ve said this is needed for years downtown, as a walker and a driver.
    I hate when you do have to drive, and having to sit through 3 lights to turn right off 7th and hope or grand or figueroa because of the constant flow of pedestrians from the subways and busses that go through there.
    I’m pro walking, don’t care about jaywalking unless you do it unsafe, and I’m pro diagonal crosswalk so when it’s time for the cars they can get somewhere.

  22. As a student in DC, I understood that the local pedestrian culture was one where jaywalking was expected, similar to New York. To this day, when I travel back there, I adopt the local practice. That said, back here in LA, I won’t cross on a flashing or steady hand unless the signal is broken (especially with my 4 year old in tow — toddler see, toddler do, etc.).

    Assuming there will be little change in LAPD jaywalking enforcement, there are several common-sense solutions the city can enact to help avoid jaywalking:
    1. Enable countdown timers for the walk signal, not just the flashing hand. I hate jogging half a block to make the walk signal just to see it turn into a flashing hand with no advance warning. What a waste of time and effort.
    2. As other posters have noted, it’s high time for all-walks in Downtown, especially near transit stations and other areas of high pedestrian volume.
    3. Motorcycle cops who issue jaywalking citations should simultaneously enforce red light running, gridlock, and ticket motorists who stop their cars within the crosswalks.
    4. With the exception of mid-block crossings, a DTLA pedestrian should never have to press a button to request to cross the street. Lights should be timed to optimize pedestrian flow, and autos can request to proceed through an intersection using those in-ground sensors.
    5. Existing and new mid-block crossings should be timed so to allow a pedestrian to cross within 5 seconds of pressing the button, not the seemingly endless wait that we currently have to endure. (A good example of a well-timed mid-block crossing exists on Main Street in Santa Monica, between The Galley restaurant and the Edgemar complex.)

  23. Gotta say I agree with brudy above. I grew up in NYC and saw both pedestrians and cyclists get hit by cars while jaywalking/entering a crosswalk against the light. I’ve also experienced how difficult it is to be a driver trying to get through a crosswalk while a flood of people leap into the street in front of you. I agree with Alex that making changes like adjusting the timing of lights would help make LA more walkable without compromising pedestrian safety.

  24. Joanna says

    As a driver I hate when people jaywalk in front of my car. As a pedestrian I personally use the crosswalk. Jaywalking slows traffic. If everyone was smart enough to figure out when it’s ok to cross then yea, toss the law. But I’m tired of almost running over idiots.

  25. Simon Hartigan says

    Here’s a thought, in pedestrian rich area, remove traffic lights are create a traffic calming yield based intersection instead. On long blocks, just add another traffic calming yield based intersection. This has proven to work in many large cities, to obviously it can work in LA.

  26. Joshua says

    Living in and out Los Angeles for past 22 years, and officially living downtown for a solid 4 years to receive a notice to appear is quite pointless, really? There are more pressing issues cops should be worrying about other than siting a pedestrian for walking within the crosswalk and stepping safely into the street no more than 2 seconds before walking signal says go. Having my incident on 7th and Grand, and one of a few busy intersections especially during the evening was a major surprise. Keep in mind this being the cross streets of multiple eatery’s including LOUIE and bar 7, in addition to a few other fast food joints. I am still stumped as to how out all people I am singled out. While the officer is writing me this notice 2 gentlemen are jaywalking at the same time and not to mention the public drunkenness by people exiting both restaurant and bar. What?! It’s quite obvious this cop was trying to meet his quota and found any easy target… a person on their way home both hands full with bags of groceries. Seriously come on. The rules cops have enforced towards jaywalkers is quite cumbersome. I see this as more as an inconvenience when they should be looking into the bigger problems, as opposed to targeting someone who can barely walk while carrying bags of food. You officers need to work a little harder at your jobs. If you were to throw one of our LA officers into NY; they would be overwhelmed in a heartbeat. NY knows what’s up, LA does NOT. Stop being lazy cops.

    Not to mention cop said I ran a red light, I thought I was walking not driving… he was not too bright.



  27. Dr. Christopher Eaton says

    Honnnnnnney, this is a total racket and revenue scam. They don’t give a SHIT about safety. They care about revenue. Every time you cross the street, you have to look in every direction to make certain there aren’t any revenue collectors around waiting to give you a ticket. I know that you’re focused only on DTLA but the fact is that there are amazing pedestrian neighborhoods all over L.A., from Long Beach to Santa Monica to Hollywood to NoHo to WeHo to Pasadena, etc. where law enforcement agencies have been given quotas to raise revenue for their respective municipalities. I got a ticket from a cop near USC last year who was giving out ticket after ticket to hapless USC students who were riding bikes under the 110 freeway and crossing a tiny street just east of the 110. When I told him that he had a nice little racket going he screamed “what?” and I said, “Oh nothing officer”. Don’t blame the officers. As per usual, they’re just doing what they’re told to do- keeping you and me safe, right? BS. We need to bring attention to this issue. Where are those fools when I’m trying to cross 6th St. at Olive and nobody will stop for me while they’re trying to make a left turn onto Olive to get to the fucking freeway? Where are they when I’m trying to cross Figueroa at 7th and the idiot drivers won’t stop for me trying to make a right onto 7th from Figueroa? Don’t give me tickets. Save my fucking life. I hold out my keys to show drivers that if they get near me I’m going to scratch the hell out of their stupid cars if they get to close to me. And I do it in the most flamboyant way possible. Btw, NYC and L.A. have almost identical rates of pedestrian fatalities at the hands of cars despite the different ways in which jaywalking is handled. That study was just in the L.A. Times last week, I’m sure you could archive it easily. And to the folks above who are focused on the ways in which pedestrians inconvenience them, cry me a river. It’s way, way more dangerous for pedestrians who constantly encounter rude, aggressive, and oblivious drivers.

  28. I can’t say how frustrating it is to watch these guys hand out tickets for jaywalking when there are so many other things that could use some cop’s attention. They do nothing if a homeless guy is running around taking a crap in the street but if a guy in a nice shirt steps off the curb. . . . . It would one thing if the put that money back into the sidewalks. Walking is so dangerous down here. What can we do? Who do we talk to? Yell at?


    I’ve been on the receiving end. Was out walking dogs (what I do for a living), turned my head to make sure no one was turning right as I almost get hit in the crosswalk daily, and the timer changed quite literally as I was stepping off the curb. I was so angry as he did nothing to the homeless guy blocking traffic with his shopping cart even after I was stopped! The cop said “it was for my safety.” So asked “why he didn’t care about the homeless guy’s safety?”. No answer. I told him it’s “because the homeless guy can’t afford a ticket”. I saw them write 3 or 4 more tickets to people who looked like they could afford it and asked him again “why he was doing this?”. “Because I was told to” was his response.

    I felt robbed. Practically at gun point.


  29. This is a great comment from “osito57” posted on my interview story on The Week regarding jaywalking in Downtown LA:

    “NYC has the lowest per capita pedestrian death rates in the country, yet it has probably the highest per capita pedestrian counts. In contrast, LA has very high pedestrian death rates, yet low per capita pedestrian counts.

    To me, this suggests that a pro-pedestrian culture is a safer one for pedestrians. In this context, it would be better to not enforce the jaywalking rules, because such enforcement is an inducement to more aggressive driving (in that drivers can be reasonably confident the crosswalk is clear).

    NYC is a relative paradise for pedestrians, while LA is very rough for pedestrians, yet LA is the one enforcing the safety rules ‘correctly’.”

    Full story here:

    • I’m behind your argument, however using per capita ‘pedestrian’ death count isn’t really a viable and fair (or measurable) statistic. For instance, the area surrounding Disneyland has one of the highest ‘per capita’ death counts in the country due to factors unrelated to what we’re referring to as ”commuting’ pedestrians. The sheer volume and makeup of the pedestrians and other outside factors contribute to the incidents per total. The same could be said for Las Vegas, where the number of pedestrians to incident is extremely high.

      Although this may very well be a straw man argument, New York is a city built with public transit, and well, feet as a very effective and viable form of commute. It has been this way for over the past 100 years. I think it’s fair to argue this has a significant impact on the number of incidents. Granted, it is also one of the largest tourist destinations in the world, I feel again, there are a myriad of factors skewing that statistic. (Ex., the elderly are almost 4 times as likely to be involved in a pedestrian related fatality – NYC skews very young when speaking to pedestrian traffic.)

      That said, DTLA has to start somewhere. I think creating a safe and pedestrian friendly ‘neighborhood’ begins with setting boundaries for pedestrians as well as vehicles and (IMO to a greater degree bicyclists).

      Don’t get me wrong, I believe the recent push and resources devoted to cite jaywalkers is asinine. However, at the end of the day, is waiting another light really that awful?

  30. Robert says

    Terrible. It’s a sign of autocracy when they treat us like children.

  31. Fiona says

    Jaywalked back in college within USC campus and got charged $111!! :(

    • My son just got a ticket for jay walkn, whts the cost? I see 204$ I hear 110$ I mean really u would think this is a no seatbelt or speeding ticket, c’mon!! Ridiculous.

  32. Robert932 says

    Bringham, the problem with allowing jaywalking and simultaneously arguing for new policies such as diagonal crossing, scattered crossing, etc. conflict with eachother. If scattered crossing was implemented, then pedestrians and cars would cross at different times. If jaywalking wasn’t enforced, then pedestrians would be crossing all the time, regardless of if cars were present. Scattered crossing would work, and make DTLA safer and more pleasant for pedestrians, but jaywalking enforcement has to remain in order for it to really work well and be safe.

    Following the law shouldn’t be an unreasonable burden for cars, bikes or pedestrians. The focus should be on new traffic flow ideas that promote pedestrian activity, and that really can be done without making it harder for cars to safely drive around town.

  33. ^^ Assuming that cars are suddenly going to start driving safely. People drive like maniacs down here. I’m surprised we don’t see more people getting killed. They drive so close to pedestrians in xwalks, the sidewalks and people on bikes. I have cars swerve at me all the time. Yelling at me to ride my bike on the sidewalk. The cops need to crack down on the way people drive first and pedestrians last. Pedestrians don’t hit cars and kill the drivers. I’m pretty positive that has never happened.

  34. Adam Bialik says

    I recently received a citation for still being within the crosswalk after the signal meter had expired. Mind you, the light had not turned red, the “Do Not Walk” sign simply displayed a solid red hand. An LAPD officer was waiting for me on the other side of the street, as in, that’s where he was stationed for the day, solely so he could issue citations for this so-called infraction. My ticket was nearly $200 and I wasn’t even jay walking. Does this mean the streets of Los Angeles are so completely without disturbance that this was really the best use of the officer’s time – and better yet – our tax dollars?

  35. Typical way that LAPD makes money. There is so little you can do about it. They give jaywalking tickets to people in skid row, kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

  36. i received a jaywalking ticket at 7th in Figueroa and my response to the officer was. .fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you!!!!!!!!!!!!. what an unbelievable waste of time.

  37. MADinDTLA says

    I entered, crossed, and exited the crosswalk at 9th and Flower while the red hand was flashing. $200 ticket from Officer Lockett who was more focused on crafting his story into his headset than explaining to me why I was getting a ticket.

  38. I got a warning when I ran through a crosswalk on 5th and Hill while the red hand was counting down and didn’t make it over in time. Officer was right about that intersection being dangerous

  39. Bill from Silver Lake says

    Wow. Seriously? Did you all grow up on cul-de-sacs? Some of you sound like you’ve never heard of jaywalking laws before, that you think they were just created to harass you personally. It’s like, “Ain’t nobody tellin’ me where I can cross street and can’t cross the damn street! No way – nobody tells me what to do, especially when I know that I’m the safest mo-fo in the world!”

    I especially like the 2 or 3 posts where an outraged jaywalker tells the “moron cop” that he should be arresting the mentally ill, impoverished, and homeless dude instead. When the cop says, “they can’t afford to pay the fines,” he’s remarking on the blindly obvious fact that the smelly guy is homeless! It’s the same reason they don’t get arrested for urinating against the wall of your hipster loft building no matter how many times you call. There is nowhere else for them to pee, unless you want to give them access to your building’s lobby restroom. No, I didn’t think so. So a moron cop’s choice to cite you instead of a HOMELESS guy isn’t the cop choosing to fleece rich white people (who really have it tough in this country right now), but instead deciding not to hassle a guy already at the bottom of society’s garbage can.

    Listen, I know the fate of the world depends on you getting back to your office with you latte as soon as possible. Wait at a crosswalk with all the illegals and tourists? Impossible! The 90-120 seconds it might require could cause a rupture in the time-space continuum of my very busy schedule! The world just can’t afford me not jaywalking!

    Wait a minute – is this an Ayn Rand website? If so, I apologize. I was just doing some research on jaywalking, and I stumbled across this post and these ridiculous cry-baby comments..

    I nearly hit and killed a jaywalker this evening (and her little dog too) because she crossed mid-block, without looking, right in front of my car, and I made a huge cloud of smoke hitting my brakes to avoid hitting and killing her. I’ll give her a break because her attention was absorbed by her Kindle, and I’m pro-reading. But after I saved her life (and burned out my brake pads) this sweet-looking 50-something stood in front of my car and yelled obscenities and profanities for 15 seconds until I honked my horn to shut her up and to block those bad words from the ears of my 8-yr-old daughter, who was crying in the backseat because she thought we were going to run over the lady, and then she cried when the lady turned out to be mean and unappreciative that a less attentive driver would’ve flattened her like a pancake. When she grudgingly moved on (my horn is really loud), a total stranger who was also walking his dog signaled to me and said, “You should’ve run her over – you wouldn’t have even been charged with a crime, and you could’ve sued her estate for emotional distress.” And my research so far has shown he’s right – most cases of a car hitting a jaywalking pedestrian – when the driver is sober and the pedestrian clearly endangering themselves. the driver is never charged, and it is deemed an accidental death. In Napa Valley, an 18 yr old kid fell asleep at the wheel of his beater, drifted into another lane, and hit and killed a hitch hiker waiting in the center median for traffic to clear. The kid wasn’t DUI or texting, and he stopped to render aid (hit-and-run of course is a different story) to the hitch hiker. The hitch hiker’s family tried a civil suit, but the case was thrown out.

    So add that to your list of injustices, jaywalkers. You’ll be dead, your estate will still owe $500 in unreasonable jaywalking fines, and the guy who ran over you will get off scot free and will rent out your super hip loft to some guy whose even more hip than you.

    Maybe it’d cause a whole lot less trouble if you just obeyed the laws of walking down the street like the vast majority of Angelinos?

    • Perhaps drivers should also be going the speed limit, I’ve seen ppl get ran over for the fact of some idiot driver driving over the speed limit, c’mon now slow down! !! You’d think the speed their going its like they just robbed a bank! And who knows they probably did. Dnt blame the pedestrians , they got legs not wheels.

    • Gil Chesterton says

      Good post. Yes this is sort of an Ayn Rand blog. What else would you expect from a realtor? He cares not for helping society’s needy, and views things only in superficial terms. It’s sickening to see someone talk of other human beings (the homeless) in the manner presented often on this blog. It’s a growing trend with every younger generation it seems. It’s very popular to be completely inconsiderate and shallow these days. I am 30 years old, and I suppose I’m a “young creative professional” but I do not identify with 90% of my colleagues, who see the world through very pampered, immature eyes. It makes for very unintellectual, boring conversation. They talk about the latest restaurant, the shoes they bought yesterday, the project they’re working on. Topics like injustice and inequality? Don’t waste your time. You’ll get a blank stare. This is the generation who thinks no one built the world they live in. They owe nothing to other humans. Don’t do anything about the chronic homeless in LA – just shriek at the sight of them and ask the “moron” police officers to take care of it. Don’t obey the laws (jaywalking) and get angry when caught. This realtor and his fan base seem to have forgotten that when we are all stripped down to no material possessions – we are ALL THE SAME. I’m sure this comment will be removed like several others calling out the shameful words written on the homeless here. But if he’s not a coward, maybe he will leave this up. And maybe, if he has a heart, he will use his popular blog to start highlighting efforts in downtown to end homelessness. Maybe he can target a little of his privileged time to that effort. Maybe some day… when he’s finally ready to help make some REAL change and experience life as a deeper-minded human being.

  40. Victoria Johnson says

    Sorry to say, but after almost being run down numerous times while crossing streets legally, in crosswalks, I’m staring to think it’s a damn sight safer to jaywalk. Being a law abiding citizen has been a hazard to my health several times over. Drivers often DO NOT pay attention or notice pedestrians in crosswalks. At least when I jaywalk, I can wait until it’s absolutely clear before I cross the street and don’t have to worry about that idiot in a hurry to make a left or right turn right in front of me! It’s getting to the point where I’d rather take my chances of getting a ticket and suffer that humiliation and cost than get run down doing the things the legal way. And by the way, the last time I was almost hit, it was by a Sherriff…hopeless!

  41. Horthos says

    Whatever. I dont jaywalk. Im in no hurry. I dont get tickets. Nuff said.

  42. I have lived downtown for 4 years. My forms of transportation include walking, biking, motorcycling (ditched my car a few years ago).

    I find the most amount of jaywalking occurs along Main St and 4th/5th Streets as well as near Spring St.

    It’s mostly Tyrone lagging across the street after the crosswalk turned red a good 5 seconds ago – never see a cop give a brother a jaywalking ticket because it’s about money and well what are the chances of Tyrone paying his tickets?

  43. I received a ticket crossing in the crosswalk on 7th and Los Angeles because I entered the crosswalk “after it started blinking”. This is one of the examples that drives pedestrians crazy. Zero common sense by the issuing officer.

  44. Pingback: (Jay)Walking Around Campus

  45. I totally agree with jaywalking tickets. I wish the police would step it up. I see people jaywalking all the time and I have yet to see anyone ticketed for it. It pisses me off. There is no difference between drivers obeying traffic laws and pedestrians obeying traffic laws.

  46. I have to wonder the percentage of transient injuries and fatalities in their statistics. (Who are undoubtedly not cited.) Speaking from experience, my close calls as a driver have been south of Broadway with transients crossing in front of right turns on DO NOT WALK, and in some cases blasting across Los Angeles in the middle of the block.

    Does anyone know where we one could obtain incident or police reports for each specific injury LAPD repeatedly recites for this practice?

    To that end, who is responsible for determining the length of the countdown for each intersection? They are wildly inconsistent, and in some cases incredibly short for the width of the street. (While elsewhere the inverse is true.)

    Another rather baffling law that needs to be reviewed given the resurgence of pedestrian traffic downtown is the legality of bikes on the sidewalk. I’ve personally had several close calls and multiple collisions, including a confrontation with a bicyclist who put my friend’s child at risk. I feel this is a far greater public safety risk then the current ‘attack’ on pedestrians crossing during the countdown.

  47. not sure how to feel about this…seems like there would be better ways to spend money than on enforcing jaywalking…thanks for the post

  48. me in L.A. says

    Its nothing but a mony game for the officers to help increase the revenue for the city. its total BS about ” we just want the world to be safe” Point in case: see how many times a officer stops a homeless guy and gives ” Him” a ticket for jaywalking: Nada. Homeless people cant pay the ticket, dont have id probably and the officers dont want to touch or deal with them. They jaywalk everywhere in the middle of the street in downtown and other places and unless they are actually just laying in the street blocking traffic officers will just keep on going looking for working people to target that can pay those hefty fee’s or get bench warrants out for their arrest to pay more fee’s. its just predatory and the officers need to justify their $75K paychecks to the city.

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