Police ticket 36 in crosswalk ‘blitz’

Thirty-six motorists were ticketed during Tuesday’s law enforcement crackdown for pedestrian safety.

The average amount of those citations was $87 and 14 were written out for drivers who failed to yield to foot traffic in marked crosswalks. One additional infraction involved a speed violation, five were written to drivers failing to carry insurance, an additional five for operating privilege violations, six for equipment failures and the remaining five for occupants not wearing seatbelts.

“The safety of motorists and pedestrians alike is foremost in our minds during these enforcement activities,” said City Police Lt. Jerry Brown, who has scheduled the next crosswalk blitz on June 17 if the weather permits.

Because of major construction currently underway on Cascade Avenue, the May 13 operation was set up in the Heights. It involved a plainclothes officer who acted as a “decoy” civilian using a defined crosswalk. That individual was accompanied by a spotter who alerted four patrol cars parked down the street whenever a vehicle failed to stop. The violator was then pulled over and issued a ticket.

Brown said there are five more of the enforcement events planned during the summer and fall months. He said since the police focus on pedestrian safety began in May of 2001, there have been no fatalities in Hood River crosswalks. The special focus has been funded by state grant dollars that were granted following two deaths at a Heights crosswalk in 2000.

The police advertise the pedestrian safety stings in advance, and only conduct them when there is clear weather visibility during daylight hours. They also give more leeway in stopping distance and standard reaction times and videotape the activities.

“It is our goal to continually educate motorists and citizens on the rights of pedestrians,” Brown said.

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