New Ingleside Captain Gets Tough on Drivers Failing to Yield to Peds

yield_to_peds_small.jpgFlickr photo: myelectricsheep

The Ingleside Police Station has a new captain and he’s out of the blocks with a very progressive pedestrian safety agenda.  Captain David Lazar, who just assumed his post at the Ingleside Station on April 18th, will conduct a sting on motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks at five locations today from 2:30-8:00 pm. 

Asked to explain the sting, Lazar said, "I’m the new Captain here and this is one of the enforcement strategies that has proven successful; people get the idea when they see a sting like this."

When asked whether there was a particular incident motivating the sting, Captain Lazar said, "Our traffic collisions have been low and our pedestrian fatalities have been low and I want to keep it that way.  We want to make sure it’s not acceptable for people to just blow through intersections."

"A lot of the police captains are getting religion on this," said Walk SF President Manish Champsee. "The traffic company does it when they have time, but it’s great to see captains using their personnel to contribute to it."

Champsee added that when captains conduct these stings they get a lot of tickets and that’s a good thing "or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it." Captain Lazar echoed Champsee’s sentiment and said even if with advance publicity on our blog or otherwise, they would have ample scofflaws to choose from.

"You could do a big announcement right now and we’re still going to write a hundred citations. People are not stopping for pedestrians, it’s dangerous."

Ingleside Station officers will be joined by the citywide traffic company and will target:

  • The Cortland St corridor, from Mission St to Gates St
  • Mission St and Highland Street
  • Allemany Blvd and San Juan Ave
  • Geneva Ave and London St
  • Bosworth St and Arlington St
  • Watched one of these stings in action a few weeks ago on Ocean. A non-uniformed cop walks back and forth through the intersection and the patrol cars line up in a row on a side street, taking turns as each motorist blows through. During our excited watching that night, we easily saw ten motorists pulled over in ten minutes time. It was exciting, but the crosswalks that are so prevalent in the southern neighborhoods are still going to be inhospitable and dangerous places for pedestrians. Mid-block redlights, if not sink hole ‘car traps,’ may be the only thing that can really tame these crossings.

  • awesome! i almost got ran over on mission and 17th the other day, by a person taking a right turn against a red light while there were 3 or 4 people in the crosswalk. hopefully we can see some action in that neighborhood too.

    its frustrating as a pedestrian because you see it happen again and again and no one seems to ever get in trouble for it.

  • This is great – really encouraging that the captain is taking initiative. wonder if his peers are interested in hitting up some of the accident-prone intersections y’all have mentioned before:

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/02/17/city-slow-to-improve-pedestrian-safety-in-high-crash-areas/

  • Nick

    The Ingleside/ OMI/ Exclesior area is an interesting case study in that there are a decent number of bike lanes but they are unridable.

    Some examples: the Alemany bike lanes, San Bruno, Geneva.

    The problem on these streets is that auto traffic picks up an incredible amount of speed. Enforcement of the speed limit here would be a good first step. Basic traffic calming on these streets would be nice for all invloved (peds, cars, bikes).

  • Why is it considered ‘very progressive’ when the Captain decides to actually enforce the law? I think it will lead to many angered drivers unless there is some sort of education program that accompanies this. I know two people that have gotten out of crosswalk violation tickets before (and it will continue), because teaching people about the law always works better than fines alone.

  • Barna Mink

    Right on, Nick. I live in that area, and ride on the Alemany bike lane every day. Cars are absolutely out of control in that area. Two lifestyles (city life + entitled, multi-car-owning, drive-straight-into-my-garage suburb mentality) are clashing. It is really quite amazing. The main streets are absolutely ruled by cars that drive way too fast. The side streets are better to ride / walk because they are quite, but they do look ugly because cars are parked everywhere, including everywhere on the sidewalk.

    I’m all for the new captain being more aggressive on motorists. In fact, he will still be not as aggressive as would be necessary to make these streets safe and pleasant.

  • Elsie Proulx

    Great! I live near Cortland and regularly yell at cars that don’t stop… Drivers don’t even stop at the stop signs in this highly walked area!

  • Cnug

    I was caught at the mid-street crosswalk on Bosworth Street August 17 2010. My ticket was dismissed in court April 18 2011. The critical point, in my opinion and apparently also in the opinion of the judge, is that the officer in the crosswalk was not attempting to cross the street, he was standing in the median strip. I had seen him standing from several cars back, and had my eye on him though I didn’t realize he was a policeman. I slowed when I approached the crosswalk, but didn’t stop because the person in the median was obviously not intending to cross, and the car between mine and the median went through the crosswalk, so I did too. In my opinion, it’s immoral to set a trap like this, creating a difficult traffic jam situation and deliberately beguiling drivers, almost every one of whom would have stopped for anyone who showed any sign of wanting to cross the street. The only conceivable motive is to increase city coffers, because this had nothing whatsoever to do with public safety. If traffic had to stop for everyone standing in a median strip or on the sidewalk at a crosswalk, showing no intention of doing anything but looking at traffic, then traffic in the city would be in a constant state of being slowed to a crawl.