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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 “It’s beyond time we end this system by changing these outdated rules, which no longer reflect New York City’s modern day streetscape.”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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19 Comments

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RONALD DARABANT

I got a jaywalking ticket in the 90’s on the boulevard of death. Thank you Rudy. I went to queens court house and paid a $10 fine. I am white.

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SuperWittySmitty

Hey Muppet, if you read the article, you would see that it has indeed turned into a racial issue by the folks who hand out the tickets for jaywalking. If the data showed that everyone is being ticketed for an offense that everyone commits, your statement would actually make sense. But it doesn’t and your post is ridiculous.

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Hmmmmmm,

So if jaywalking laws discriminates against PoC because the majority ticketed are minorities does enforcement of white collar crimes discriminate against Caucasians? Is tax evasion prosecution racist…. most charged are white. Should these offenses that target Caucasians be decriminalized due to their disproportionate enforcement.

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Good luck

Jaywalking is a way of NYC life. Maybe crack down on the cars that cause the vast majority of pedestrian deaths?

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boulevard of death...

Maybe cut down on idiots crossing in the middle of the block against the light…or not

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B. Blackmon

This proposed legislation in not very wise at all. The law regarding jaywalking were put on the books for a reason. People crossing mid-block, against traffic control devices, is a hazard to all, pedestrians and motorist alike. I heard in a news report that a great deal of pedestrians are struck within the crosswalk. But, when information like this is put forth has anyone noted what percentage of those pedestrians were crossing against the light (someone crosses against a red light while walking within the crosswalk and gets struck is jaywalking). As a motorist and a pedestrian, I see ALL pedestrians take great risk in crossing the street. The one thing I DON’T see in pedestrian education. Telling or instructing pedestrians what they should when navigating the city’s streets is something that is not done. If cost is the motivation (it’s cheaper to strike to law, than to do public service education) then the City Council, specifically Member Constantinides, are doing a great, great disservice to the people of the City of New York, regardless of who they are. In a addition, groups like Transportation Alternatives, are not friends of pedestrians, nor support public safety if they support this proposal.

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Pastor of Muppets

Jaywalking laws might be silly but they’re not racist. They only target people who are JAYWALKING.

Does absolutely EVERYTHING have to be twisted into a racial issue these days? This is getting ridiculous.

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Right.

People from every race/whatever jaywalk. You only get ticketed of you get caught.

Meanwhile, it’s safest to cross where you are supposed to and when you are supposed to. Let’s all prevent accidents whenever possible.

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For real though

You must think why jay walking is decriminalized. The government is after your mobility. They’ll blame car drivers for idiots walking in the street then they’ll want to ban cars. You’ll be left stranded in a city.

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Tree of Liberty

He is so right decriminalizeing jay walking. Like jay walking. Blacks and Hispanics are arrested for 95% of shootings in NYC. How unfair is that.

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I agree, the NYPD disproportionately arrests people of color

Cops issued 316 tickets for jaywalking, 89.5 percent went to blacks or Hispanics–only 55 percent of the population.

Thanks for agreeing that we should decriminalize!

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Why is it everyone else's fault if they are always doing the wrong thing?

Not our fault they won’t take responsibility for their adult lives and actions.

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Joe

How do we know “white people” were jaywalking and didn’t get a ticket? Could it be that most of the jaywalkers were not white? In the end, we are in Queens, right?So what do you expect?
BTW, I am latino, I have done it and I have never gotten a ticket. Turning this into a racial thing is ridiculous

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Guest

It’s illegal for a reason although I never saw a single person get a ticket. Does anyone here drive? If you are crossing in the middle of the block and truck is turning, he will not see you and you will get killed. Stop this lawless nonsense. If you want to roam like it’s fields, move to Arkansas or wherever you are trying to turn NYC into. Ticket is not enough, we should whip jaywalkers.
This guy should deal with real problems like homeless and subway smashers.

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gag

Good. Just a reminder that jaywalking was a term created by the car industry to criminalize pedestrian behavior.

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No 108th quota for white people at QB and 46th

A ticket is a cheep way to remind a jaywalker that he is assuming a risk that is unnecessary.
Tickets being given in only three precincts and mainly in The Bronx!
I see lots of white people jaywalking at 46th and Queens Blvd. why doesn’t the 108th have a quota?

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