hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


August 22, 2013

City looks to educate jaywalkers

Reports: People dart across heavy, fast traffic


Councilors said they would also explore the idea of installing signs warning pedestrians to use crosswalks on the city’s busiest streets. Kocher said such signs are common elsewhere, but not in Haverhill.

Jaywalking (”jay” is slang for an inexperienced or naive person) is a term used when pedestrians ignore do-not-walk signals at intersections or when a person crosses in a dangerous manner, such as diagonally, or in Haverhill crossing without using a crosswalk if you are within 300 feet of it, according to a city ordinance.

Jaywalking is punishable by a $1 fine — a penalty that goes to back to a state law passed more than 100 years ago. The same law calls for $2 fines for fourth and subsequent offenses.

Some of Kocher’s photos showed police cruisers parked near jaywalkers. She said she visited the police station to ask why officers were not enforcing laws against jaywalking. She said she was treated rudely by police and told that jaywalking is not a concern or priority in Haverhill and that if she had a problem with that, she should go see her city councilor about it.

Councilor Michael Hart said enforcing laws against jaywalking can be difficult, especially with the city’s minimal police enforcement resources.

“Education, especially of our young people, is the way to address this, not enforcement,” Hart said.

Hart added that he is also concerned about drivers not stopping for pedestrians crossing the street.

“You go to the post office in Washington Square and it happens more than it should,” he said. “Most drivers are good about it, but there are too many that aren’t.”

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