Editorial: Trying To Cross The Street Shouldn’t Be A Crime

Publication: LA Times

California has recognized that there are environmental, public health and mobility benefits to getting people out of cars and into other modes of travel, including biking, walking and taking public transit. Yet in too many instances, state law still favors cars.

Take, for example, jaywalking. In California, it’s illegal to cross the street mid-block or to cross against a traffic signal. Yet almost anyone who travels by foot has violated this law at least once, or even once a day — and not because they’re scofflaws or miscreants.

California’s jaywalking law ignores the reality on the ground, which is that the vast majority of streets were designed to move cars quickly, not to allow convenient, safe walking. Intersections are spaced far apart. Many communities lack the basics of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, including street lights, safe sidewalks and conveniently placed crosswalks (if any sidewalks or crosswalks.)