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Constantinides to Introduce Bill to Decriminalize Jaywalking in NYC

Crosswalk along Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside (Photo: Queens Post)

Sept. 15, 2020 By Christian Murray

A Queens legislator will be introducing a bill before the city council Wednesday that calls for the decriminalization of jaywalking.

Council Member Costa Constantinides, who is sponsoring the bill, said that black and Latinx New Yorkers are the ones most ticketed for jaywalking and the bill aims to end the disparity.

“Every New Yorker crosses in the middle of the block, but that can end in a ticket depending on your skin color,” Constantinides, who represents Astoria said in a statement. “It’s beyond time we end this system by changing these outdated rules, which no longer reflect New York City’s modern day streetscape.”

The legislation would bring the city’s street rule in line with those of the state, which allows a pedestrian to cross at any point of the street—so long as there is no oncoming traffic.

Constantinides’ legislation would remove criminal and civil penalties for “jaywalking.” Currently, pedestrians must cross within marked pathways when given a walk signal. Anyone cited for a violation must physically go to court to pay a fine.

The council member said that the current rules run counter to a New York City norm, which is to cross at any point of the street when a car isn’t coming.

He said the current policy unfairly targets people of color. He cites a Streetsblog report that found black and Latinx New Yorkers received 89.9 percent of the 397 illegal crossing tickets issued in 2019.

The analysis found that almost 40 percent of the 2019 illegal crossing tickets were issued in three Bronx precinct, where almost every person fined was black or Latinx.

The bill has got the backing of Transportation Alternatives.

“In New York, crossing the street should not be a crime, especially one that disproportionately targets black and brown communities,” said Marco Conner DiAquoi, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives.

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7 Comments

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Karen Townsend

This is not a race issue but our elected officials will make anything a race issue lately simply to pander to certain groups for votes. Enough of this; it is sickening and dilutes the message that real race issues are trying to convey.

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paul

You get it. The extremes on the left and right get the ink ie on the left, defund the police, riot, anarchy, white shame and on the right, there is no problem with deaths in custody re people of color and the police are never wrong.

That is the problem.

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Resident

Jaywalking should be a more severe offense. It is complete disregard for a traffic device. It endangers the pedestrian and creates hazards for drivers. There are far too many individuals blatantly ignoring traffic lights and walking with their noses buried in their phones while the city disproportionately goes after motorists instead of pedestrians and cyclists.

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frank G

WOW!! Nothing else going on up there?
Leave that hellhole and come to Texas,Florida or the Carolinas and enjoy life.
your quality of life is terrible,it has been deteriorating for years and you do not see it,because you are accepting it daily.
Do not be the last one out

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Kathy

I am so sorry to hear that another community issue is being put through the racial litmus test. And wasn’t aware that “jaywalking” is a criminal act. I think making that a crime is a crime. And I am disgusted to hear that it may be used as a “trap” to criminalize some of us. To keep myself safe, I cross in the middle of the block all the time to protect myself from cars, electric bikes, scooters and vespas and skateboards making quick turns at corners.

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paul

Another social engineer looking to pass a bill in search of a problem or in other words social engineer.

1-See if the tickets are given out unfairly and do something about it. Remember the old statistical adage, figures don’t lie but liars figure. If not done unfairly nothing has to be done.

2-A jaywalking offense certainly does not rise to a criminal offense but certainly a civil one and should remain so if you don’t want more pedestrians killed.

In search of social engineering this pol. could get more people killed.

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Mutley

Really? Decriminalize jaywalking because minorities are most ticketed is just a statistic. Just that. Actually jaywalking should be more strictly enforced. Pedestrians cause more problems contributing to traffic as they feel it’s all on a driver to stop on a dime so they can cross the street or letting cars complete their turn when they are still on the sidewalk. It seems people today have forgotten how to act responsibly in society today.

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