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Governor Brown Signs Bill: No More Tickets for Crossing on Countdown

2:26 PM PDT on October 3, 2017

Pedestrians will now be legally permitted to enter a crosswalk after the countdown has started. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

Now that the legislation session is over, Governor Brown has a huge pile of bills he must either sign or veto. Among the many bills he signed yesterday is the crosswalk countdown bill from Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). A.B. 390 makes it clear that pedestrians are allowed to enter a crosswalk while a countdown signal is flashing.

The LAPD, for one, has issued thousands of tickets to pedestrians who start crossing after a countdown has begun. They will no longer be able to do that when the law takes effect in January—but if they're smart, they'll stop immediately.

Note that this new bill applies only to countdown signals, which are usually accompanied by a flashing hand. If there is no countdown, current law still maintains that a pedestrian cannot enter the intersection once the hand or “don't walk” signal begins flashing.

Countdown signals are becoming more prevalent as cities replace old signals. They work because they give pedestrians a better idea how much time they have to cross a street, and they can be calibrated to suit any particular crosswalk. But the old ones without countdowns are still very common—so cross carefully.

More background here.

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