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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 “It’s beyond time we end this system by changing these outdated rules, which no longer reflect New York City’s modern day streetscape.”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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8 Comments

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F

Oh please. now they get more jay walking tickets because they are minorities. Maybe if they didnt cross against the light they wouldnt get tickets.

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Javier

Ummmm…. he said DE-criminalize which means to STOP getting fined for it. In 48 years , I’ve never even been stopped for jaywalking. Do they still actually still stop people for this?? Shouldn’t have been a law to begin with.

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I cant believe he said that

No it shouldn’t be a law. Your right. People should just walk out into the street

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Javier

Ummmmm do you KNOW the definition of Jaywalking?? We get nickel and dimed enough as it is. I guess you must be a hermit and don’t leave your house like normal people

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The Truth.

He should also introduce a Bill that will protect any driver from being sued by anyone getting ran over. These people walk & text in the middle of the street and pay no mind to traffic. They walk like zombies .

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Javier

And make bicyclists have some form of insurance. Because if i hit them, my insurance policy pays out for damages, and if they hit me, i get zero!

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