Nobody Walks in LA, (except undercover cops)

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This morning the LAPD had a sting operation going.

They had pedestrians use a crosswalk at highland and 2nd and if a car didn’t stop for the pedestrian, a cop car was waiting to peel out and track them down and issue a ticket.  Pedestrian protected!  Job well done!

Although I doubt the sting of being hit by a car is in any way relieved by the issuing of a ticket.

This sting operation is interesting because a week ago or so the city officially voted down a stop light at 4th and highland and 4th and rossmore.  Just two blocks south of the sting, but a very similar traffic situation. However 4th is also called “Bicycle Blvd” And 4th street from miracle mile to downtown is supposedly a bike friendly street. They have done lots of things to improve the street and make it more appealing for cyclists. Except stop lights at these major cross streets.  The stop light have been blocked not just by residents but also city council officials. Even Tom LaBonge let us down on this one.

When it comes to pedestrian safety, wouldn’t a traffic light make more sense?  I know I feel uncertainty both as a pedestrian and as a driver whenever I come to one of these half ass intersections.  It’s as if the city says we know people and cars are crossing here but we’re not gonna make it even more of an unfair fight.

Also, there were six patrol cars waiting to trap non stopping vehicles.  Six!  That means they were expecting to write tickets.  That means they were expecting cars to not stop. That means they sent pedestrians to cross the street when they knew cars wouldn’t stop. So many cars ouldn’t stop that they need 6 patrol cars in waiting because this unsafe scenario will happen 6 times before the first patrol car is done issuing a ticket and back to get the next guy.

If they had asked me to be the pedestrian, this is how I imagine the conversation going.

“Citizen, we need you to help us in a sting operation.”

“I am always happy to help an officer of the law. What do I do?”

“We need you to cross the street at this intersection.”

“okay. then what?”

“Anyone who doesn’t stop for you, we give them a ticket.”

“Why?”

“Because it is unsafe.”

“If it is not safe, why did you ask me to do it?”

“You’ll be safe.”

“If I’m going to be safe, why do you need to give them a ticket? I’m fine.”

“You’ll be safe, but they’re.. being unsafe …to… you.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to put in a stop light?  Then everyone would know who can go when?”

“Yes, but that costs money. And tickets make money. I’m a cop this is all I know how to do.”

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