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Hubbard Police out to enforce pedestrian safety

Driving through Hubbard? Better stop for pedestrians or face a costly fine.

The Hubbard Police Department has scheduled three crosswalk enforcement operations over the next month in which drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians could be issued a $260 ticket, said Officer Chris Anderson of the Hubbard Police Department.

Increased enforcement of pedestrian safety has been a concern since a pedestrian was killed while crossing Highway 99E in early 2012, Anderson said.

“The primary goal is to raise pedestrian safety awareness,” Anderson said. “A lot of people are not sure what the law is.”

Hubbard police issued 11 citations and nine warnings at the most recent safety operation on July 23. The six-hour operation took place at the intersection of G Street and First Street, Anderson said.

The police department will conduct three more operations this year with the next one scheduled Wednesday from 3 to 9:30 p.m. at the Third and D streets intersection, Anderson said.

As they approach the intersection, drivers will be alerted by signs and orange cones that they are entering a “crosswalk enforcement operation,” Anderson said. As their vehicles get within 161 feet of a crosswalk, a trained decoy will begin to enter the crosswalk.

“The decoy starts walking across the crosswalk when the vehicle is just about to enter the cone area,” he said. “This gives the vehicle plenty of time to slow down and allows them to get through the crosswalk safely.”

HPD also will conduct an Aug. 7 operation in front of the Hubbard Post Office and a fourth and final operation this year at the intersection of Highway 99E and D Street on Aug. 31, he said.

The public is mostly on board with the pedestrian safety operations, although City Councilor Matt Kennedy has criticized the police department for running what he calls a “dragnet.”

“A $260 ticket is a tough educational lesson,” Kennedy said. “The enforcement that I’ve watched at prior stings goes beyond the intent of the statutes. I’ve seen drivers pulled over when the pedestrian was absolutely safe.”

Citations are given for “egregious” failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, Anderson said. In this case, that means the pedestrian is more than four feet away from the curb on either side of the street, he said.

If pedestrians are within the four-foot “buffer,” drivers are given a warning, Anderson said. But the egregious offenders are easy to spot, he said.

“I’ve stopped a person who never saw the signs and never saw the decoy,” he said. “Someone like that — they don’t see what’s going on around them. And they don’t see a pedestrian in the crosswalk. That person is going to get a citation.”




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