Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After deaths, New York takes aim at jaywalking

For many New Yorkers, crossing the street in the middle of the block or against the light is a way of life, part of an attitude that tells everybody, "I'm walkin' here!"

"Of course I jaywalk!" said 70-year-old Peter Standish, a retired corporate attorney and lifelong New Yorker, adding that he occasionally texts, reads and even does crossword puzzles while crossing. "I do look up often," he noted.

But with 12 pedestrian deaths this year, new Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking aim at that defiant attitude with steps that include increased awareness of the dangers and, in some places, a crackdown on an offense that has been long ignored. Police are actually handing out tickets to jaywalkers.

"We need to be sensitive to the fact that we do have a way of life, and many of us who've been here know that," de Blasio said. "But we have to educate people to the dangers. There's a lot more vehicles in this town than there used to be."

Last year, 172 pedestrians were killed in traffic in New York City, according to preliminary figures. While such deaths have declined by more than a quarter since 2001, de Blasio says there are persistently too many, and he wants to attack them in the same way the city reduced murders to a record low of 333 last year.

Some neighborhood activists have complained that the focus on jaywalking is too abrupt, especially since police issued only 630 jaywalking tickets last year — not even two a day in a city of 8 million people and more than 6,000 miles of streets. "To go from no enforcement to this aggressive action is overkill," said Mark Levine, an Upper West Side member of the City Council.

The mayor also wants police to take a harder line against speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians. He also wants speed cameras installed at the most dangerous spots — an action that requires state approval. And traffic lights could change more quickly in places where pedestrians get impatient and just walk.

After deaths, New York takes aim at jaywalking 01/28/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida issues school grades: F's down, A's and B's up

    Blogs

    Florida's school grades showed marked improvement in 2016-17, according to the results released Wednesday morning.

    Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart
  2. 'Big Bang Theory' star Johnny Galecki loses home to California wildfire

    Blogs

    Johnny Galecki, star of the Big Bang Theory, lost his ranch to a large California fire.

     

  3. Dali a father? He would need to have sex first

    Opinion

    One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, 28 years dead, is about to be pulled from the grave to settle a paternity claim. The case could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Horst P. Horst's portrait of Salvador Dali from the 1930s. [Image from the Dali Museum.]
  4. Aramis Ayala defends stance against death penalty: 'I did what I believe was proper'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Aramis Ayala, the elected Orlando prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty, defended her actions Wednesday as she faced a flurry of hostile questions from Florida Supreme Court justices.

    Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala, far right, said she was "very well pleased" with her lawyer's case. "I violated no laws." [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. With home demolition, Pasco begins effort to alleviate Holiday Hills flooding

    Local Government

    PORT RICHEY — Year after year, from his front porch, Jeff Ward has watched yards flood and rivers form in the streets, carrying canoes instead of cars after heavy rain.

    An excavator clears rubble from a razed home in Holiday Hills.