On August 14, Kelsey went to court to fight a $197 crosswalk ticket that she and her buddy received in April.
“My friend (Val) and I were coming back from the Tap Room,” she said, “[then the police officer] was actually in a red yield to turn right into Garnet Avenue. He stopped in the crosswalk so we had to stop walking to make sure he didn’t hit us; then he pulled into 7-Eleven and called us over.
“He said we were getting tickets because we did it right in front of him …. but we had six seconds (on the crosswalk counter) when we stopped for his car and we still made it across.”
Kelsey said that she was cited for “21456(b)” which reads on the California.gov website as: “A flashing “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol with a “countdown” signal indicating the time remaining for a pedestrian to cross the roadway means a pedestrian facing the signal may start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal but must complete the crossing prior to the display of the steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol when the “countdown” ends.”
“Before (January 1) you could not cross the street when the countdown had already begun,” Kelsey said, “Now you can if you make it across in time.”
I spoke to Nancy an employee at the 7-Eleven on Garnet Avenue and Fanuel Street where the two received the tickets.
“The girl that works at the bike shop also got a ticket in the beginning of summer,” Nancy said, “she got a ticket even if the crosswalk sign said 'walk.'"
“Val went to court yesterday and [the police officer] didn’t show,” Kelsey said, “so her ticket was dismissed. My date was today, and [the police officer] did show up. He asked the judge to dismiss it because he said he was not aware of the law change.”
Kelsey, 30, is a dental hygienist that resides in Pacific Beach. In early July she spent 3.5 hours in court to plead “not guilty” to the alleged crosswalk violation; on Tuesday she spent an additional 1.5 hours in court.
“I had to miss work on both cases and without pay,” she said, “and my patients scheduled those days had to be rescheduled. I feel like my time and money were completely wasted all because the officer was 'unaware' of the law changes. The law was passed January 2018, so it was not brand new — he had months to become more familiar with it.”
“I think that was a short lived and stupid version of the countdown crosswalk law,” a close-by resident said, “I hadn’t heard it was changed back but glad it was.”
On October 2, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 390 to amend the code which went into effect at the beginning of the year.