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Assemblymember Santiago Stumps for AB390 to End Gotcha Pedestrian Tickets

Assemblymember Santiago, Councilmember Huizar and others calling to fix antiquated state crosswalk law. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D - Los Angeles) joined L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar, the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT), and Los Angeles walkability advocates in calling for the passage of A.B. 390.

Current state law makes it illegal for a pedestrian to enter a crosswalk during the countdown phase, no matter how many seconds are shown as remaining. A.B. 390 would amend the law to allow pedestrians to enter a crosswalk, during a countdown signal, as long as the pedestrian completed the crossing before the countdown ended.

According to press release from Huizar and Santiago, the L.A. Times reported that "more than 17,000 citations were issued during a four-year period to pedestrians who stepped off the curb when the red hand was flashing." The Times also calls L.A.'s frequent transit stop pedestrian stings “a fish-in-a-barrel opportunity for cops.”

California's “jaywalking” law was enacted back in 1981, when the only pedestrian signal was a flashing hand. The widespread installation of countdown signals began in L.A. in 2008. Huizar called on the state to update its "antiquated" laws to keep up with contemporary crosswalk technology. Santiago termed the $200 pedestrian tickets an unfair "gotcha law," as most pedestrians seeing a countdown clock assume that it is telling them how much time they have to cross.

A.B. 390 will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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