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Hefty Fines Raise Eyebrows In Downtown Jaywalking Crackdown

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(Photo credit:  Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images)

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textalerts180 Hefty Fines Raise Eyebrows In  Downtown Jaywalking Crackdown

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Is a crackdown on crosswalk violations in downtown Los Angeles hampering the city’s efforts to be more pedestrian-friendly?

KNX 1070′s Jan Stevens reports the issue could boil down to whether public safety trumps local business.

LAPD Central Bureau, which serves the downtown area, first warned of increased enforcement measures in late November ahead of the busy Christmas shopping and tourist season, including handing out jaywalking fines ranging from $190 to $250 in the Historic Core and Financial District.

And it’s not just for common violations like walking during a red signal or darting across the street through oncoming traffic: an LAPD list of common violations includes situations where pedestrians may simply be standing outside of marked crosswalk areas.

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Blair Besten, the executive director of the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Business Improvement District, said there have been over 120 pedestrian-vehicle collisions this year prior to the holiday season.

“Usually the pedestrian doesn’t end up on the good side of that event,” Besten said.

As part of enforcement efforts, LAPD officers have handed out upwards of 31,000 citations in the Central Bureau, which includes Central, Hollenbeck, Newton, Rampart and Northeast divisions, according to LA Downtown News.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said the crackdown is aimed at pedestrian safety and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in the area.

But Besten thinks the community should have a chance to weigh in on the effort in hopes of reaching a compromise with police.

“In terms of people crossing at an intersection…a second after the countdown has begun, it might be one of those discretionary items,” she said.

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