Los Angeles-area Assemblymember Miguel Santiago recently proposed a bill that would make it legal to begin crossing the street when the flashing countdown is on.
Currently, police can issue tickets to anyone who begins crossing a street after that countdown begins. According to the LA Times, 17,000 pedestrian tickets were issued in Downtown over a 4-year-span - many for this kind of crosswalk violation.
The bill, AB 390, would make it OK to begin crossing the street while the countdown sign is flashing - as long as you make it across the street before the Don't Walk signal pops up. It was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee in May and is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Take Two spoke with Assemblymember Santiago.
“Let’s say hypothetically you have 40 seconds [to cross the street]. We’re not saying you have to make it one minute, we’re saying rearrange the way those 40 seconds are set up. You could make a much safer crosswalk and we’re trying to encourage people to walk, there’s no reason why we should discourage people by giving them tickets while they’re walking. All we’re saying is antiquated laws should be modernized, and we shouldn’t be trying to fill city coffers with ‘gotcha’ laws that give people tickets when they enter the crosswalk and its safe."
To listen to the full segment, click the blue play button above.