In Downtown, it is currently illegal for a pedestrian to step into a crosswalk after the red hand starts flashing and the countdown begins no matter how many seconds are left to cross, and if a cop stops you, you’re probably gonna get a jaywalking ticket.
As the residential population in Downtown L.A. increased to more than 53,000 in recent years this law and others like it have resulted in a reported 17,000 citations over a four-year period. That’s when the people began calling on their representatives to put forth a successful effort to help them through the crisis.
Finally some relief!
As a part of the DTLA Forward Initiative, Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar went to work to increase and encourage more pedestrian activity, authoring a 2016 City Council resolution calling on the state to update crosswalk laws, which negatively impacted pedestrians, particularly in Downtown Los Angeles.
“When current California pedestrian laws were created, countdown signals didn’t exist,” said Councilmember Huizar. “As a result, there has been a lot of confusion about when a pedestrian can cross the street in Downtown Los Angeles and throughout the city.”
The solution: Enter Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), who authored Assembly Bill 390.
AB 390 offers a solution by making it legal for a pedestrian to proceed walking across a crosswalk during a countdown signal if there is sufficient time to reasonably complete the crossing safely.
According to Assemblymember Santiago, other states and cities have passed similar legislation without opposition. There is no evidence of an increase in risky behavior from pedestrians as a result of these newer laws.
“I don’t believe pedestrians should be preyed upon just to fill local coffers,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “AB 390 encourages and reinforces pedestrian-friendly communities like Downtown Los Angeles.”
AB 390 was indeed approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee today (13-1). The bill promises to protect pedestrians exploited by an outdated state crossing signal law that has resulted in people on foot being unfairly punished and financially overburdened.
This week, the Los Angeles City Council will vote on a second resolution by Councilmember Huizar supporting AB 390 specifically. AB 390 will next head to the Assembly Floor for a vote in the coming weeks.
“I want to thank Assemblymember Santiago for answering the call of our resolution and proposing common-sense updates to this code in order to encourage more pedestrian activity while ensuring public safety.” said Huizar.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.
Councilmember José Huizar represents Council District 14 in the City of Los Angeles, which includes Downtown Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Northeast Los Angeles.