Wiki Wednesday: The Crosswalk Violator Crackdown

If New York could set up red light cams and speeding cams at its discretion to catch scofflaw motorists, there’s no doubt the city would be a much safer place. When it comes to automated enforcement, however, the state legislature holds many of the cards. Fortunately, there are other techniques available to NYPD to better protect pedestrians — techniques that don’t require Albany’s blessing. One of them is the "Crosswalk Sting," described by Andy Hamilton in this week’s StreetsWiki entry:

crosswalk_infringement.jpgWe’re walkin’ here! Photo courtesy of Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Image Library, Dan Burden.

A Crosswalk Sting or "pedestrian decoy operation" is an enforcement and
public education action in which plainclothes police officers cross at
marked or unmarked crosswalks, and drivers who fail to yield to them are
given warnings or tickets. An important aspect of the action is
notifying the media ahead of time to ensure good coverage of the
crosswalk sting, providing broader community awareness. Crosswalk
stings have been found to significantly increase yielding by drivers.

Skeptical that this technique would have much of an effect in a big American city? It’s certainly no substitute for automated enforcement, but in Miami, Andy reports, one study documented safer driver behavior in the wake of crosswalk stings:

Extensive anecdotal reports suggest police and residents find that
crosswalk stings increase yielding by motorists to pedestrians in
crosswalks. Very few controlled studies have been performed. A 2004
study of a sting operation in Miami, Florida, found that crosswalk
stings did in fact increase yielding.  Further, the researchers
found, "these increases were sustained for a
period of a year with minimal additional enforcement, and that the
effect generalized to untreated crosswalks… as well as crosswalks with
traffic signals."

How great would it be if an NYPD sergeant tipped off the Shame Shame Shame crew (although maybe Arnold Diaz isn’t the man for the job) and busted some crosswalk violators on New York’s mean streets? That officer would be a hero in my book.

  • Me

    Sure, that’s what we need. Red light cameras, gun control laws, crosswalk entrapment scams, an even lower DUI threshold than the ridiculously low one we have now, more anti-smoking laws.

    People like you are something!

  • Ian Turner

    How is it an “entrapment scam”? It’s not like the officer trying to cross the street is enticing cars into not stopping. Do you think that it’s not a problem for automobiles to regularly block the crosswalk?

  • Ace

    To live outside the law you must be honest

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Does the Box Blocking Crackdown Ignore Crosswalk Violations?

|
Manhattan Community Board 2’s Ian Dutton sends along this shot of a motorist about to be ticketed for blocking the box on Broome Street at W. Broadway in SoHo. Yesterday, police and traffic agents stepped up enforcement of what is a normally ignored traffic regulation. However, writes Ian: Note that blocking the box only applies […]

To Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities, Focus Enforcement on Cars

|
Today the issue of pedestrian safety has popped up a couple of times on the Streetsblog Network. First, the folks at WalkBike Jersey report that a bill giving pedestrians more protection in the crosswalk has passed the State Assembly and is moving to committee in the Senate: Photo by tomswift46 via Flickr. Under the bill, […]

Bratton’s Pedestrian Ticket Blitz Won’t Save Lives

|
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s claim last week that 66 percent of pedestrian injuries “are directly related to the actions of pedestrians” was unsourced and at odds with existing research, but already it seems to be shaping NYPD’s enforcement efforts. On a horrifically violent weekend during which three pedestrians and one cyclist were killed by motorists on NYC […]