To the editor: I relate to Eduardo Lopez, who received a $197 ticket after attempting to cross a street during the red blinking "don't walk" signal to catch a bus. ("Struggling student a victim of high fines and misdemeanors," April 25)
For transit riders, missing one bus or train puts you back anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour, depending on the route and the time of day. More time is lost if a transfer is involved. Pedestrians would be helped if they were given more time in the light cycles, which now favor drivers.
And where are the police throughout all cities in Los Angeles County when someone is inside the crosswalk and drivers illegally encroach into the painted crosswalk? Or when motorists speed up and drive through the crosswalk in front of me?
If cities want ticket revenue, there's more money to be made going after drivers who break crosswalk laws and put pedestrians in danger.
Matthew Hetz, Los Angeles
To the editor: According to columnist Steve Lopez, if I am stressed and have to be at some place but am running late, I should be able to jaywalk to try and make my appointment on time and not receive a ticket.
Many years ago I was ticketed by a police officer for jaywalking. I was running late for a very important interview, so I started across the street; when I got to the other side, an officer who saw me wrote me a ticket.
I was mad all right, but I was mad at myself. I knew better.
It would be much easier on everyone if those who get caught jaywalking stopped making excuses for doing something that is against the law.
Neil Snow, Manhattan Beach
To the editor: Steve Lopez has a good point about the disparate impact of fines on poor and rich people. But in the particular case of pedestrian crossings, there's a more basic problem: The law itself is confusing and inconsistent.
For a car or bicycle, a yellow light means "prepare to stop"; it is perfectly legal to enter the intersection on a yellow light. But for a pedestrian, the equivalent (flashing red) means exactly the same as steady red: Do not enter.
It would be easy to change the law so that it was consistent for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and then people like Eduardo Lopez wouldn't be confused. Furthermore, the countdown timer would become meaningful instead of being an utterly useless adjunct to the "do not cross" symbol, as it currently is.
Geoff Kuenning, Claremont