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Police to Issue Tickets in Rosslyn for Pedestrian Safety

by ARLnow.com November 9, 2010 at 7:45 am 3,294 50 Comments

(Updated at 7:45 a.m.) Police will be out in force in Rosslyn today to promote pedestrian safety. They’ll be issuing citations to cars that don’t yield to pedestrians and warnings to jaywalkers and cyclists who ignore traffic laws.

The enforcement will be taking place in the area of North Lynn Street and Wilson Boulevard between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 and 1:00 p.m.

Citations for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk carry a hefty fine of between $100 and $500 in Arlington.

Although police will only be issuing warnings to pedestrians, a citation for failure to obey signs and signals wouldn’t take too big of a chunk out of your pay check — the maximum fine is $5.

The enforcement is timed to kick off the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Street Smart fall pedestrian safety campaign. The campaign encourages “proper yielding to pedestrians and drivers alike.”

In 2009, there were 78 pedestrian and cyclist-related deaths in the Washington area, which is more than one quarter of all traffic-related fatalities in the region. Local police departments are trying to decrease that number.

Arlington’s police chief, three Arlington County board members and representatives from other local jurisdictions will hold a press conference about pedestrian safety at 12:30 this afternoon in Rosslyn.

  • TGEoA

    FYI, a cyclist is not a pedestrian when “operating” on a road.

    • charlie

      i’m curious though about the bicyclists who are in the road but then move over the crosswalks to beat the light then back into the roadway. I’ve often wondered what they get classified as. anyone know? Seems like having your cake and eating it.

      • Jason S

        As one of the few cyclists that actually stops at red lights, I would agree it. It makes cyclists look like jerks, which most of them here actually are. “I’m a car!” they think when they are wandering in and out of the bike line, “Now I’m a pedestrian!” as they carelessly hop into the crosswalk without consideration for pedestrians!

        My one wish for cyclists in Arlington is that they would learn to act like civilized people instead of self-important princes and princesses who own the roads, the sidewalks, the parking lots, the trails, etc and you’d better get out of their damned way.

        • KateKirk

          Nice to hear this POV from a cyclist…we CAN walk/bike/drive with respect and care so that we all get along.

        • TGEoA

          It is perfectly legal to switch between roads and pededstrian lanes, however your point about cyclists doing it recklessly is spot on.

        • NorthAdams

          i’m sorry but you going “I’m a Car” oh “I’m a pedestrian” now “i’m a car” just sounds like the Old Spice Commercial that is running now…

  • BookGuy

    This is quite necessary, particularly to chastise the people who enjoy making right turns from Lynn to Wilson and from Wilson to Lynn when there are oncoming pedestirans crossing the street with the light.

    • Ann

      Agree! I have almost gotten hit so many times there on my way to the metro.

  • kfb

    How’s about they move a little further on up Wilson Blvd. and target the pedestrians that like to jaywalk in front of my car every evening in the block between N. Oak and N. Pierce Street?

  • DB

    They pulled over a Metrobus, and made all of the riders (full bus) wait while they wrote a ticket. Surely, Surely they have better things to do, better ways to do them than this.

    • charlie

      i’m fairly certain the numerous people who have been hit by metrobus’ in the past would disagree. sure it is inconvenient, but that driver is in fact responsible for a huge piece of metal AND all the passengers on board.

      • rft


        if anyone needs to learn about pedestrian safety, it’s the f-in bus drivers

        • CW

          I beg to differ. If ANYONE needs to, it’s taxi drivers.

          If we go to two groups, then yes, bus drivers are #2.

  • LP

    Hmm. Citations for drivers but only warnings for Pedestrians?

    Doesn’t sound exactly fair, it should be the same no matter the mode of transportation.

    • JD32

      I would make the argument that driving a two ton hunk of metal entails the operator having a much greater stake in the safety of those around him than a person walking down the street. Sounds pretty fair to me.

      • Jason S

        That’s absurd. A pedestrian has the primary responsibility for their own safety, not cars. It doesn’t matter who is heavier. The notion that pedestrians have no responsibility and cars have all of it is why some people get themselves killed by stepping into traffic. I cannot honestly say that I care if an idiot steps in front a car or truck and gets themselves killed, but I would be very irritated by being delayed by their own selfish stupidity.

        • JD32

          And herein lies the problem. Pedestrians have just as much right to the streets as drivers do. However, drivers view them as merely an impediment to their commute. Until this attitude changes, we’ll continue to have far too many pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.

          • Jason S

            Actually, they don’t. They have a greater right to unmarked crosswalks and unsignaled marked crosswalks, yet equal access to signal controlled walks based upon the traffic signals. Pedestrians have no inherent right to be in the street outside of crosswalks and any pedestrian in the street outside of a crosswalk should be held liable for any damage their body does just as a driver would for improperly entering a street or driving an improper direction on a street.

          • rft

            Pedestrians have limits on their rights to the streets, just as cars do, which is why jaywalking deserves a ticket, just as cars get tickets when they don’t follow the rules.

          • Eslater

            Jason S. writes: “Pedestrians … should be held liable for any damage their body does.” While I agree with you, it’s hard for me to imagine that a peds body, or even a bicycle (note: I cycle through Rosslyn daily) can come close to the damage that a car can do.

          • Jason S

            It cannot possibly return the damage in any proportional way, but damage is damage and if you caused it you (or your estate) should set it right.

      • LP


        I agree, I never said that the operator doesn’t have a much greater stake in the safety due to what they are operating. What I did say is that I don’t believe it’s fair to punish people differently that break the law and that’s what’s being done.

        Citations for ALL or Warnings for ALL, not a little bit of both.

        • Frenchy B


        • WalkerNotDriver

          I’ll continue to jaywalk each and every time. I may even start to carry $5 bills to just hand off to the cop as I get cited. CARS kill, pedestrians get killed. Get out of your cars for once and try to spend a day in a pedestrians shoes (your own). There needs to be more crosswalks on long stretch crowded blocks, such as Wilson bet Oak and Pierce, and Lynn bet Wilson and 19th.

          • LP

            So because the County doesn’t put in enough crosswalks, walker-friendly intersections, you’re going to Jaywalk and risk your own safety as well as others? Seems like a brilliant idea.

            Don’t jaywalk and take it out on drivers, it’s not our fault that the county hasn’t provided you with enough safe areas to cross. Hike it the extra 200ft to a crosswalk, get some exercise and try to make everyone’s experience a bit better.

          • Zoning Victim

            Good, then you’ll know who to blame as you are laying on the pavement bleeding. The only situation where the driver is to blame is when a driver hits a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk and crossing with the light. In cases of excessive speeds or drunk driving they usually blame the driver or call it shared fault. There are a large number of pedestrian deaths that are the pedestrian’s fault. In fact, 50% of pedestrian deaths are judged to be the fault of the Pedestrian versus 39% being the driver’s fault (the rest are shared or unknown fault). Most pedestrian crashes happen at locations other than intersections because drivers do not expect to have to stop there. The fine for jaywalking should be much higher, IMO.

    • Kevin

      The problem I have with a warning is that it carries the implied threat of “next time you’ll be ticketed”.

      The trouble is, there very likely won’t be a next time. It’ll be another year or so before ACPD does another revenue grab like this, especially in that area.

      If you’re out there ticketing, ticket everyone.

  • Safety First

    LP…I completely agree. Pedestrians listening to their iPods or talking on the phone ignore their safety and the safety of others and just walk out in front of traffic without looking. I hope the ACPD moves this effort to the Ballston area. Its nuts around the Metro.

    • LP

      Glad we’re on the same page.

    • Matt B

      They probably won’t. With a $5 fine there isn’t much incentive for them to continue to enforce this out during other times of the year. $5 would hardly cover the administrative costs to sustain the program.

      • Kevin

        ARLnow is bit disingenuous with the $5 fine vs “a hefty fine of between $100 and $500”.

        The actual fine for failure to yield is $30. Tack on $51 in “processing fees” and $10 in “local fees” and now you find yourself up near $100.

        • LP

          $100 is $100, no matter how you get there. I don’t care if the fine is $30 and then there is $70 in fees. It’s still $100 coming out of my wallet!

        • PurpleFlipFlops

          That’s some nice orwellian doublespeak there.

          • Kevin


            I was pointing out the difference that the “$5 fine” is probably going to be closer to $60 with court costs and fees tacked on (with the possibly incorrect assumption that the fees are the same for pedestrian and traffic infractions).

            $60 vs $100 doesn’t seem so sensational now does it?

  • Harkin

    Too bad they weren’t there to pull over the DB driving a souped up little
    sh-tcar that almost ran me over in a crosswalk by the Rosslyn metro this morning. If he would have stopped I would have done him a favor and made his car look less stupid by taking his oversize spoiler and shoving it up his as-.

  • Confucius Kitchen

    The only thing giving citations does is promote hatred of cops! Ive gotta an idea, throw a pair of white gloves on one of Arlington’s one million meter maids, give him a whistle and put him in the intersection – problem solved! This is another shakedown in the guise of “public safety”. I’m sure Walter ‘I love illegals’ Tejada and the other bureaucratic hemorrhoids lodged in the ass of this county stay up at night worrying about our safety!

    • J

      Sure, the average county board member may not care about your safety, but the average beat cop does. There are several of these traffic safety campaigns in the region every year, all of which are well publicized, and while they do raise revenue, collecting fines is not the police department’s function, as Arlington Police Chief Scott noted in an article last year about falling parking ticket income. To paraphrase: the police write tickets based on violations, not on potential revenue.

      What’s more, the Arlington police force is generally professional and courteous, so I’m not sure what there is to hate about them. If you don’t want undue attention from the police, my suggestion to you is that you drive respectfully. It might bring your blood pressure down, but more importantly, it might save a life.

      • Confucius Kitchen

        Mr. J, I must admit, reading your post induced a most pleasant sense of nostalgia – like the smell of an old library book -, very Mr. Rogers-esque!!! My mom taught me to look both ways before I cross the street, thats worked for me here and in at least 20 other countries.

        Oh yeah, its not about money, its about safety right? Is that why its in Roslyn and not somewhere in South Arlington? How about Columbia Pike & Dinwiddie, it’s a F’n horror show! A cop could go through a whole book of tickets in an hour! Good luck on any of ’em gettin paid though, everybody’s got the same name and social security number.

        And to quote a Police Chief disqualifies you from any serious discussion on the matter!

        There’s illegals living under the bridge on Columbia pike and driving around at flammable intoxication levels and the board is worried about the 9-5er’s crossing the street in Rosalyn?

  • Eyesofarl

    My favorite is the morons who don’t stop at the white line by a red light. Or those honk at the person walking in the crosswalk with the walk light. You are elitist crybabies. I would love to see any of you try that crap in a tough town. Just use common sense when driving, biking or walking.

  • Joe

    If you want to do enforcement rather than mere public relations, you don’t announce it far and wide. You randomly show up at these intersections, and actually do said enforcement. Not for the PR benefit, but to tell drivers, cyclists and pedestrians that you may very well get inconvenienced if you decide to ignore traffic laws.

  • Pingback: Arlington wants state to raise cigarette taxes; Police looking out for Rosslyn pedestrians via tickets; Fimian expected to concede to Connolly today; NoVA Muslims hit with travel delays; and NoVA to see debut of new electric cars | Northern Virginia Magaz()

    • Pigpen

      If there was ever a chance that I might have been interested in reading “Northern Virginia Magazine” it is now gone b/c I have zero respect for people that put selfish plants on websites, and even less respect than that when they “pretend” to be a legitimate poster, let alone the owner of the blog. (I mean really? You think by posting as “[…] ArlNow […]” people are going to think the owner of this blog is endorsing you? What a loser…and what a loser outfit for hiring you…)

      • Kevin

        I’m pretty sure that was an automated trackback or something similar.

  • Rob

    I have a little saying – when I am driving I hate pedestrians, when I am walking I hate drivers, and I always hate a cyclist!!!

    Funny thing is most car/pedestrian accidents are a result of pedestrian negligence.

  • DudeGuy

    They should give tickets to cars, pedestrians and cyclists!

    Cars if they are not yeilding to pedestrians that have the walk sign and are in a crosswalk

    Pedestrians for walking whenever they want across the street (Jaywalking)

    Cyclists if they are not riding with traffic, not wearing a helmet, not sharing the road or they are listening to their iPod. Some dude gave me the middle finger on a bike the other day when he was listening to his ipod, not wearing a helmet, going 10 mph on Washington Blvd near W&L and in the center lane. Now that is a DB.

  • Clarendude

    TBD reports that 33 violations were issued during morning rush


    However, only 4 involved not yielding to pedestrians, the rest were other illegal driving violations.

  • Susan

    Why can they not also issue citations to the pedestrians and bicyclists that don’t obey the law? The only way they are going to pay attention is if they get hit in the wallet! As usual, it’s only the drivers that really get socked here, the others just get the usual slap on the wrist.


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