Police Interactions

Scene of the Crime - click for an interactive map.Tonight I was stopped by the police. For jaywalking.

Here’s what happened:

Jennifer and I were walking south on Broadway.

We decided to turn around, so we picked a nice, safe crosswalk.

The light was green for the cars, and we had a don’t walk indicator.

Jennifer crossed the street. I had seen a car coming, so I decided to wait. The car was about 1 block away, and not coming very fast.

Jennifer finished crossing the street before the car even neared the crosswalk; I could have made it. She waited for me at pushpin 3.

I looked both ways again, and there were no cars coming in either direction as far as I could see.

I began crossing the street.

A police car pulled out from a parallel parking spot (Pushpin 1) and stopped in the crosswalk in front of me.

I stopped in the crosswalk, in the center median area of the street. (Pushpin 2 on the map)

Police officer: What does the sign say?
Me: Red hand.
Police officer: What does that mean?
Me: Don’t walk.
Police officer: Why were you crossing the street?
Me: There were no cars coming.
Police officer: [Pauses and looks at her own car] There is now.
Me: Which is why I am not crossing the street anymore.
Police officer: Seriously, this is for your own safety. [Drives away]

The irony:

Two days ago, I sent an email to the Seattle Police Department to thank them for starting a new enforcement program called Don’t Block the Box, which aims to improve traffic flow on the street I use every day to leave downtown (University Street). In the same mail, I also asked them to look out for a few other behaviors which screw up traffic on my street: trucks double-parking in the middle of a traffic lane, and cars turning left from the right-most lane (see it). Earlier this afternoon, I received a personal call back from the police department thanking me for my feedback.

I have mixed feelings about all of this now.

One Responses

  • oo now I know to be careful when I get there. I do that ALL the time in Austin. I don’t run out in front of cars, but if there are no cars coming I’m not going to wait 5 minutes for the light to change. I can handle my own safety.

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