LAPD Sets Up Pedestrian Safety Sting Operation in the Valley

The Daily News reports that pedestrian deaths doubled in the San Fernando Valley from this point last year from 3 to 6. The total number of people hit by cars in the Valley also rose from 108 in 2007 to 121 this year.

It's not uncommon for pedestrian crash and fatality rates to rise and fall, as a matter of fact it's the trend in the greater Los Angeles area, what is surprising is the reaction of the LAPD in the Valley.

Unlike their counterparts in Koreatown, these officers are focusing their enforcement efforts on the automobile drivers breaking the law instead of the pedestrians crossing the street.

The Daily News reports:

While he spoke, the LAPD carried out a sting in which a plainclothes officer repeatedly had to dodge and weave past cars in a crosswalk. Just out of sight, motorcycle officers were watching and zoomed in to ticket drivers who did not give the pedestrian the right of way.

One after another, drivers zipped by him and were ticketed. Three motorists nearly hit the officer, Jesus Camacho.

"You feel really vulnerable out there," Camacho said, looking a little startled, with sweat on his brow.

In two hours, police wrote more than 50 tickets.

"This gives you a different perspective," Camacho said.

Meanwhile, as safety statistics worsen in parts of the city, a new report ranks Los Angeles as the 7th best city for pedestrians in California out of the ten largest cities. The report, put together by safety advocates and transportation planners, says that Los Angeles isn't as bad as people think:

The City of Angels has a high percentage of people who walk for excercise and the 3rd highest ranking of mass transit riders in the state-it's within the top 50 in the country. Although this may be surprising for some, our report shows that L.A. has the best ozone rating in the state. The number of people who walk to work is on the low side, but the city does participate in both the Keep America Beautiful and Rails to Trails program.

So cheer up Angelenos! Parts of our police department understand that the best way to improve pedestrian safety isn't to harass pedestrians and our city is much more accommodating for pedestrians than Sacramento or Fresno. Can a complete streets approach to transportation planning be far behind?