Los Angeles Pedestrians Look Forward to Relaxed Jaywalking Law
LOS ANGELES — The City Council on Wednesday voted to relax some of the most stringent requirements of the city’s pedestrian safety laws on pedestrian crosswalks.
Under the council legislation, crosswalks can be narrower or shallower, with no minimum distance between them, and only pedestrians under 16 years of age can walk there. The law will apply to all pedestrian facilities, although it will not apply to crosswalks at bike lanes.
The City Council also voted to eliminate a provision in the law that required pedestrian crosswalks to be at the same right-of-way clearance as vehicles.
The council also voted to require a pedestrian to have the right-of-way at the crosswalk until he or she has crossed the entire crosswalk to enter the roadway, whether in the same direction or crosswise.
The law is called the Los Angeles Pedestrians and Cyclists Charter, and it was inspired by similar laws from the City of New York and other cities, including Amsterdam.
“It’s a major win for pedestrians,” said Pam Woodruff, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, which advocated the changes.
The proposal will go to the full City Council for approval sometime in the spring.
Under the law, the Department of Transportation may impose more stringent requirements on crosswalk safety, Woodruff said.
She described the council’s actions as a step toward making pedestrian space safer and adding an element of choice to the crosswalk experience.
“The city is being proactive about creating a healthy and safe crosswalk environment for all,” she said. “We hope this goes a long way toward eliminating the need to cross the street to get to the left or right of the path you’re on.”
The changes were supported by both sides of a long-running and often acrimonious debate over speed bumps. One of the most common complaints was that they are too close to the curb and do not slow people down when they come to a complete stop.
The law also requires all pedestrians to leave at least three feet between crosswalk and curb to allow people who are not on foot the right of way. The law also requires the city to have all crosswalks have a physical button to let people who are in a vehicle go to a designated crosswalk and leave the roadway without the need to back up to cross.