Lastest Rule NYC City Council Progressives Propose Forgoing: Jaywalking

Lastest Rule NYC City Council Progressives Propose Forgoing: Jaywalking

By Yehudit Garmaise

Hundreds of pedestrians in New York City are killed every year by reckless drivers, however, three far-left City Councilmembers have co-sponsored a bill that would legalize jaywalking.

While many New Yorkers don’t hesitate to cross city streets outside crosswalks, jaywalking has been a crime in NYC since 1958 and is punishable by a $250 ticket. 

The Democratic supporters of the bill: Councilmembers Mercedes Narcisse, Tiffany Caban, and Shahana Hanif, whom the New York Post calls, “far-lefties,” say the NYPD should forgo all enforcement for jaywalking because blacks and Latinos are ticketed in much higher rates for a dangerous habit that nearly all New Yorkers practice, the New York Post reported. 

The bill has been in the works since January 2020, when then-Council Speaker Corey Johnson demanded it after reports showed blacks and Latinos received nearly 90% of all 316 jaywalking tickets handed out during the first nine months of the previous year.

Many other councilmembers and residents, however, say that completely throwing out the law against jaywalking is not the answer. 

“’Rules shmooles’ is the mantra of many [lefty] councilmembers,” Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told the Post.

“I think this bill is ridiculous,” said Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens). “How can anyone imagine this is a good idea considering the [number] of pedestrian deaths we continue to have each year? [The bill] would only put more pedestrians in danger.”

In 2022, only police issued only 117 jaywalking tickets, while 50,757 pedestrians were injured and 260 pedestrians sadly died as a result of NYC traffic violence. 

Through June 30, 2023, 112 pedestrians already have succumbed after cars struck them, yet many New Yorkers act as if crossing busy city streets outside of crosswalks is no different than walking through a park.

“Legalizing jaywalking is a mistake because the practice is dangerous,” said Shmuli S., who works on 13th Avenue. "While jaywalking, pedestrians have a much harder time seeing all around them, and making sure no cars are coming from any direction.”

“Heimish men, women, mothers with kids, and kids themselves jaywalk all the time,” journalist Yochonon Donn told BoroPark24. “I see dangerous situations on a weekly basis.”

Equitable enforcement, which Donn said is impossible, however, is not the answer to getting New Yorkers to cross only at crosswalks when pedestrians have the right of way.

“I would focus much more on awareness campaigns among children,” said Donne, who remembers police officers visiting his childhood cheder Tiferes Elimelech, which was then located on 58th Street, right across 16th Avenue, where Tomer Devorah now stands: right across from the 66th Precinct.

While Tiferes Elimelech has moved to the old Kamenetz building on 56th Street, raising awareness among Boro Park children to walk only at crosswalks and to obey traffic signals is the key to keeping pedestrians safe, Donn said.

David Rabinowitz, a lifelong Boro Park resident, also thinks raising awareness is the key to protecting pedestrians.

“I have never believed jaywalking should’ve been a ticketed offense,” Rabinowitz told BoroPark24. “People should be made aware of the dangers of crossing the street just anywhere, and that should be enough.”

Malky Klein, who worries that Boro Park residents can be “extremely reckless when they are crossing the street, thinks that residents, perhaps, could use reminders that jaywalking is illegal.

“People don’t look where they are going, and people walk into cars. Part of it is that people are just trying to get to their destinations, and traffic in Boro Park is crazy, but multiple times, I have seen cars almost driving into people. 

“People need to remember to use crosswalks and cross the streets more carefully.”

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