Decatur Police Targeted Crosswalk Offenders Earlier This Month

This is interesting.  From The Decatur Minute

On May 2 the Decatur Police Department implemented a crosswalk education and enforcement activity between 11:25 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. at four crosswalks located in the city: Church Street at E. Trinity Place, Sycamore Street at N. Candler Street, Church Street at Sycamore Street, and 300 block of Church Street.

During that time officers issued a total of 13 citations and 3 warnings – 11 of the citations were issued to drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, 1 for failure to maintain lane, and 1 for making an improper left turn. The 3 warnings were for an inoperable brake light, improperly stopping in the roadway, and stopping on a crosswalk.

Drivers stopped for pedestrian crosswalk violations received a pamphlet created by the PEDS organization and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to educate drivers about pedestrian crossing.

Remember that pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks; slow down when approaching a crosswalk and watch for pedestrians; and be mindful of both pedestrians and cyclists when driving.

I guess it’s also illegal to STOP on a crosswalk?  Huh.

65 thoughts on “Decatur Police Targeted Crosswalk Offenders Earlier This Month”

  1. I do wish pedestrian education would also be included in these – you know, like how you should use the crosswalk and not just cross anywhere you like, not cross against the light, etc.

    I’m all about protecting pedestrians by raising awareness with drivers, I just wish that we could educate both sets of people. This may be coming from me working in downtown Atlanta and worrying about the safety of all the GSU students who do not seem to have ever learned to look both ways before crossing the street.

    1. Yesterday in front of Noodle/Hola two pedestrians stepped out into the middle of Ponce (not anywhere near the crosswalk) as they cut across to get to the Dr’s office building on the corner of Ponce and Church. They were healthcare workers as they both were dressed in scrubs and they were carrying takeout containers. They walked in front of a big delivery truck that was stopped 4 cars back from the red light, so I couldn’t see them. My car was moving (there were no cars ahead of me) and I was in the right turn lane. They stepped right into the path of my car. I had to slam on breaks. They glared and yelled at me for almost hitting them. They were in the road, illegally jaywalking. How was I deserving of their scorn? I yelled back at them since my windows were down, they continued their tirade at me. Stunning. I agree that pedestrian awareness is also necessary.

    2. Totally agree! Both drivers and pedestrians need education. My pet peeves are jaywalkers at two particular locations: 1) the curve in Commerce walking to and from the First Baptist parking deck (It’s bad enough to jaywalk in an area with good visibility, but on a curve? Think, people!), and 2) cutting across from the DeKalb county offices on Commerce between Swanton and Trinity to get to the parking deck across the street (There are crosswalks at each corner just a few feet away!)

      1. Not to excuse pedestrians walking out in front of traffic outside crosswalks, but crossing in the curve frequently gives the pedestrians the best line of sight for traffic coming from both directions as well as giving cars a chance to she them earlier.

    3. I agree pedestrians need educated too. I’m always having to wait at the light for people to cross during the turn lane only light when trying to turn left onto Commerce from Ponce. That is illegal and very annoying.

    4. Happened to me yesterday too, except I was on my bike.

      I was waiting at the light in front of Ted’s heading west, as the light changed (for ME!), a pedestrian walked right in front of me as if he was going to cross Ponce…against the light.
      I caught his eye, and pointed to MY green light.
      Plus, if I wasn’t there, he would’ve walked right into car traffic.

      Jeez people, learning about red and green lights should happen in pre-school.

  2. Only about 1 in 20 cars stop when there’s someone waiting at the W Howard Ave crosswalk at Adair st. I wish they would do this program at this crosswalk. They would get a lot more than 13 citations.

    1. That intersection is so scary. I half wish there was a cross-walk light there. I’ve seen other places have a light just for the crosswalk, don’t know how well that would go over though. Always super excited when I’m walking by when the morning crossing guards are out there, they’re so nice.

  3. Also, there is a always a big white line at traffic lights designating where the cars should stop and wait for the light – I HATE cars that roll forward into the crosswalk. Wish I had the power to slap and ticket those drivers.

    Jaywalkers too, slap and ticket.

    Then I get home and have some bourbon and lay in the hammock with my dogs and all is well…

    1. Sometimes I have to roll forward into the crosswalk because the line is painted too far back for me to see if it’s clear.

    2. But you do know that if one of the two intersections in either direction is a stop sign and not a light, it’s not jaywalking, right? Just saving you the additional stress!

      1. I was referring to folks that cross mid block with no crosswalk. Peds at intersections have the right of way from me anytime.

  4. The material on the PEDS site is really helpful. I didn’t realize that it’s perfectly legal in Georgia for pedestrians to cross mid-block if there are not traffic signals at both intersections. Or that a crosswalk is a crosswalk whether it’s marked or not – it’s the location that defines it at intersections, not the paint.

    1. Great points. Too many people have completely wrong ideas about what constitutes “jaywalking”. I cross mid-block all the time in places where it’s allowed and when it’s obviously safe. Every once in a while I’ll have someone honk at me, flip me off or yell something about it. I just wave back, laugh and hope there’s a cop nearby to seem them do it.

  5. It is the drivers that ignore the flashing yellow lights at the S Candler and Dougherty crosswalk that really bother me. I often use this crosswalk and I ALWAYS use the button to set off the lights. Then I wait “patiently” to see who will actually stop. On most days at least one or two vehicles ignore the flashing lights and do not even slow down. (Note that I do not expect people to stop short, I have reasonable expectations that a vehicle a half a block away will stop.) On extreme days 5 or 6 vehicles pass right through the flashing lights without even slowing down.

    1. I sat there once through a whole cycle and no one stopped to let me cross, including a MARTA bus or two. On the second cycle, someone finally gave me a break.

  6. Between living in Decatur and working at Georgia Tech, I am irked at drivers who ignore crosswalks, as well as the pedestrians who cross willy-nilly and against the light.

    Just last week, while on a bike ride, I jokingly proposed a form of vigilante justice: Auto drivers can spray silly string at inconsiderate pedestrians, and pedestrians can toss water-based paint filled balloons at wayward cars.

    BTW – the PEDS website is REALLY informative. I suspect most of us don’t actually know all those rules (especially crossing between signalized vs non-signalized intersections). Which makes both adherence and enforcement problematic.

  7. Wish they would implement this program at the Talley street/ S Columbia crosswalk. I had a car swerve around me while I in the crosswalk and gave me the one finger salute this week. Nobody ever stops at this crosswalk when I try to cross.

  8. Here is the link for the page with the pedestrian illegal vs legal street crossing.

    In my case, as well as the others on this post who have sited pedestrian jaywalking at specific intersections, the pedestrians we illegally crossing the road. I had no idea that if a stop sign was involved at one end, they were legally crossing. Seems odd, but if it’s the law, it’s the law. Good to know.

    Can anyone comment on why there might be a difference?

    1. Locations where the adjacent intersections are both controlled by signals are usually in downtown business districts. In areas like this, crossing midblock is more likely to interfere with traffic. In downtown business districts, intersections are also more likely to be close together. In suburban areas.

      In neighborhoods, intersections are usually unsignalized. In suburban areas, signalized intersections are usually farther apart, with unsignalized T-shaped intersections between the two signalized intersections. In both situations, it’s legal for pedestrians to cross anywhere they want, as long as they yield the right of way to drivers.

  9. My wife yells at me for stepping into a crosswalk when there’s trafiic. She thinks I should wait until there’s nobody coming. What’s the point of the crosswalk, then?

      1. Actually, I step into the crosswalk and wait until traffic stops before crossing. I don’t believe in playing chicken.

        1. Good call. And you can feel so righteous about the ones who whiz selfishly past, forgiving towards the distracted ones who realize too late and break in the middle of the crosswalk when it’s too late, and bond with the fellow law-abiding citizens who slow down and stop on time. And not be smushed.

            1. Ha! Be careful–1) Poor drivers sometimes pack heat; and 2) someone you know may be watching unbeknownst to you, e.g. your kid’s teacher is crossing the street from the other direction or your supervisor is right behind the scofflaw vehicle, slowing down for the crosswalk just as your finger goes up.

  10. Three cheers for Decatur PD for making the city safer for everyone. As someone who walks or bikes almost everywhere in the city, I have had drivers buzz through marked crosswalks as well as running red lights while talking on the phone or give me “the look” when I point out the “Stop for Pedestrain” signage . I always want to believe that these are folks from outside of Decatur as our citizens would know better. Also want to ask people why the rush – if being there is so important leave home a few minutes earlier and you will have a lot less stress.
    Walkers: Best to always look both ways even when you are in the right.

  11. In my perfect world nautical rules of navigation would apply to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Rule one is to avoid collision with another craft. Somewhere down the list is something about the burdened vessel having right of way (with the exception of barges and vessels under sail). In other words the large fry is expected to grant the right of way to small fry who may suffer grievous injury in a collision.

  12. Also keep in mind the price to be paid for a pedestrian in the wrong vs. a driver in the wrong is vastly different. In all cases of a pedestrian vs. vehicle, no matter who is in the wrong, the pedestrian loses.

    Way to go, CoD Police ! Please keep up these enforcement efforts. As a pedestrian and driver *both*, I fully support thorough enforcement of the law.

  13. This is too long and I didn’t read it. Did anyone mention yet how pedestrians are sometimes even worse than car drivers? And did anyone point out how bad cyclists are, too? Whaddya say we all take a chill pill and go grab a cold one. It’s 5:00 somewhere, right?

    1. Yes, Jimmy Buffet. However, when a pedestrian makes a stupid mistake and gets caught on the wrong end of that mistake, they will pay a much steeper price than a ticket. They will pay with their lives, a life-altering injury, or a mild injury at best.

      A driver making a stupid mistake does not put themself at risk, but rather deprives the pedestrian of their ultimate rights – the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

      Hence, the focus of enforcement on drivers and holding a higher standard for drivers is in the best interest of everyone’s rights.

  14. In my personal experience, 87.46% of those grabbing a cold one go on to jaywalk and/or violate other miscellaneous ordinances. I only hope the police set up a sting outside the Brick Store. Constant traffic stops and ticketing are the only ways to a better life.

    1. Constant. Yes, constant. That is, in fact, what this discussion is about. Good call.

  15. Pedestrian vs. pedestrian accident : rare and when it occurs, very little injury.

    Car vs. car accident : common and when it occurs, higher chance of injury or even death, but roughly equal chance for all involved

    Car vs. pedestrian accident : more common than it should be and when it occurs, very high chance of serious injury or death for the pedestrian with little chance of injury for the driver. An unequal risk situation.

    Hence, the higher standard expected of drivers when cars and people meet. With greater power (a vehicle) comes greater responsibility.

    1. Granted, but pedestrians should not be absolved of ALL responsibility. Especially those crossing at W. Ponce/Commerce, S. McDonough/E. Trinity (between City Hall & Chik-fil-a), and Church/Sycamore (in front of the MARTA station). People walking against the signals should be just as liable for citation (and painful fine) as people driving against them, and I wish the City would do some sting operations. I’m a careful driver, respectful of all other modes of travel. Why should I be held completely responsible for people who dart into my path with no warning when I’m halfway through a left green arrow turn? Much less those who blithely wander out in front of me from between parked cars mid-block without even a glance in my direction? They’re not only putting themselves at risk (and taking a chance on ruining my day) but they also contribute directly to a scofflaw environment where everybody is less safe, no matter how they’re navigating across town.

  16. I was almost hit by a turning car yesterday while crossing Ponce in a crosswalk at a light with the walk signal, so this is a timely discussion. Luckily the car was moving slowly enough that I could get out of the way in time, but the car just kept on going as if the driver never saw me.

    I like the idea of traffic lights for pedestrian crossings too. Would love one at the crosswalk on S. Candler near Agnes Scott, although S. Candler being a state route makes it unlikely to hapoen.

  17. And my much smaller pet peeve: people who park facing the wrong way on residential streets! are they too lazy to turn around? My driveway is often surrounded by neighbors who face every which way, making it more challenging to back out at dawn or dusk. ?paintball?

    1. How exactly does parking a car facing the wrong way on a residential street impact anyone any more than a a car parked facing the correct way?

      1. Because the car facing the wrong way has to move across the lane when stopping or starting. I live 2 blocks from school and BACK onto the street. Many cars waiting to drop off or pick up facing the wrong way pull out and are hard to predict for pedestrians and vehicles. Ask my dog, who was knocked over when we met a wrong way car pulling from left to right as we turned into my driveway last week. Thank goodness we were all okay, but facing the wrong way adds another element of uncertainty to judging car movements.

        1. On a frequently traveled road it is certainly a problem to park in the wrong direction. Sounds like you have neighbors who not only park the wrong direction but are also simply poor drivers. When exiting a parking spot one should yield to all moving traffic and sounds like that’s part of the issue in your case. I park the wrong direction frequently in front of my house to avoid two three point turns on a narrow residential street. When exiting my parking spot I yield to all moving traffic and have never had an issue. I still don’t understand how it makes a difference to you backing out of a driveway but that’s OK.

    2. If DPD started ticketing the wrong-way parkers like APD does, it’d stop pretty quick.

  18. I am EXTREMELY cautious driving in town and VERY aware of pedestrian crosswalks (because I walk a fair bit around town myself) but sometimes even I don’t see someone waiting to cross or worse, stepping out. I have had a couple of close calls in town; either I don’t see someone because of a parked car at a cross walk, or because I am momentarily blinded by the sun, or there are multiple pedestrians (like on Church St. between Trinity and Ponce) to be aware of. Once I nearly ran someone down in a crosswalk; the light turned yellow as I entered the intersection to turn left, which tells me that the pedestrian probably didn’t have the walk signal any longer, but somehow I totally did not see him (the street is slightly uphill, so I think I would have seen him if I didn’t have a drivers’ side mirror) and I came within inches of hitting him. I was absolutely horrified and replayed the scene in my mind multiple times, wondering how I could have missed him. I’ve been even more vigilant since then, but still find myself having to stop suddenly or otherwise avoid a pedestrian. It makes me second guess my ability to drive safely!

    I tend to think that most of the people who don’t use crosswalks correctly (like a lady walking a tiny toddler across Commerce toward the courthouse, stepping out RIGHT AS THE LIGHT TURNED GREEN) probably live places where there are no sidewalks, they never walk anywhere, and are never given pedestrian education like we are here. It is frustrating. And I am amazed at how stupid some people are. But even if it were not at all my fault, I don’t think I’d ever get over hitting a pedestrian.

  19. Walking is a right. Driving is a privilege. Therefore pedestrian >driver. Not sure where cyclists fall on that continuum — at least, I’m not sure when it comes to the rest of the world. The bike-hating, homicidal drivers of Georgia have made it abundantly clear that in their opinion, bikes =0. Jesus, folks, chill!

  20. How expensive would it be to install a countdown type pedestrian light or an audible one that says “walk” or “don’t walk” at some of the worst intersections like Ponce and Commerce and Church and Commerce. I think many times the pedestrians have the right of way and they just start into the intersection when the lights change. The greater danger is when there are a number of people waiting to cross and one person ventures out and the rest of the people think they have the right of way at that moment.

    Someone really is going to get killed at one of these intersections soon and it would be worth the taxpayer dollars to make some improvement. Perhaps the fines from the citations could go towards this investment in safety?

    1. Brevard, N.C. and the Five Points area both have these countdown/audible pedestrian signals and they seem great. Not only do they keep spacey pedestrians in line but they seem to help cars pay attention and even sit more patiently (as in “It’s only 4 more seconds buddy before you have the right of way so you don’t have to pull a kamikaze right-on-red.”) The big intersections do seem to be good candidates for this technology. There’s impatient traffic, wide intersections that take a while to cross, left turn lane green arrows that delay the pedestrians’ turn to cross, and enough pedestrians that even a small percentage of stupid pedestrian behavior risks a lot of potential injuries.

      1. That is a really neat idea. CoD should look into this for the intersections right around the square.

      2. Scramble signals can be a good choice at intersections that have a lot of pedestrians most times of the day. But at other locations, the additional delay they create is usually not worth the benefits.

        1. Definitely a context-dependent solution, and customizable to some degree. At least in Carlsbad, the signal is ped-activated, so it doesn’t cycle unless there are peds present.

      3. This type of crossing actually has a name. It’s call a Barnes Walk, named after the traffic engineer who thought it up.

  21. They have these in Westwood just outside the UCLA campus. Felt like such a rebel walking diagonally across an intersection..

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