Jaywalker Hazard

Being a Los Angeles policeman with over 15 years experience, I'm prompted to respond to David M. Bellanca of Buffalo, N.Y. (Letters, Dec. 20), whose party was cited while walking near the Convention Center.

By the nature of it, the Convention Center neighborhood has an inordinately high number of out-of-town visitors moving about in it. This makes it a very dangerous area for motorist and pedestrian alike, because there is also extremely heavy local traffic due to the nearby financial and garment districts.

Having personally driven in New York City, I have experienced firsthand the perils of driving in an overcrowded urban business center that has little or no traffic enforcement. Pedestrians and vehicles move about without any apparent concern for rules, regulations, or each other, going wherever and whenever they want. It was only by chance and pure defensive driving that I was not hurt or killed.

Anyone who has driven in L.A. would agree that while our traffic seems oppressive, there is an orderliness to it. The movement of traffic is regulated and enforcement is strict. This accounts for the relatively low incidence of traffic injuries and deaths recorded in our city year after year.

In the context of Mr. Bellanca's isolated incident, the officers' actions might appear frivolous, even callous. But it may be partly due to L.A.P.D.'s active traffic enforcement posture that L.A. is a popular choice for conventions from all over the country. Visitors find that L.A. is relatively safe for all pedestrians and motorists, provided the traffic regulations are adhered to, including even the lowly "Walk--Don't Walk" signal.


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