Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Moreno Valley: Right of Way at Crosswalks and Safety

A controlled pedestrian crosswalk in Los Angeles
Last Thursday, September 26, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department conducted a sting operation in Moreno Valley to catch drivers who failed to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

A 7-foot-tall Gingerbread Man who crossed back and forth was the star of this sting. According to the Press Enterprise and the reader comments that followed, there has been much debate of this operation. Several argued the police resources should be spent on combating crimes and homicides. They have valid points and we'll get to that in just a moment.

Pedestrian Crossing Sting Operation in Moreno Valley

Here are some of the facts of the pedestrian crossing sting. This is the location of where the crosswalk sting took place. It is a designated school crossing, clearly marked. The police operation was held for just under an hour during the morning student drop-off hour right in front of Rainbow Springs Elementary School and less than 200 yards west of Sunnymead Middle School. With the presence of children and middle school youth in the area, the speed limit on Eucalyptus Avenue was 25 MPH. The reasons for these laws is safety for our children and youth. Therefore, it was perfectly justified for the police to strictly enforce the state's pedestrian crossing and speeding laws.

VC Section 21950, the state law regarding the obligation to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, was clearly written in the name of safety. Section C reads, "The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian."

That point brings us to the rest of the law. Section A states, "The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter." Section B is a legal message to pedestrians, stating, "This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk." That's a reason why school districts hire or contract trained crossing guards. Lastly, should a pedestrian suddenly dart out into traffic, that "does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection," as stated in Section D.

The PE reported that numerous concerned parents and citizens called the police several times complaining that drivers are disregarding the crosswalk and speeding laws in this area. That's why Mr. Gingerbread Man and the cops showed up. It's quite evident that many pedestrian crossing laws throughout the state are often ignored, both by drivers and pedestrians. Many drivers fail to yield, some pedestrians continue to jaywalk. This exposes a safety hazard and that's why such stings are necessary to combat such disregard to the law.

Point Made by PE Readers: Police need to combat crime in Moreno Valley

Lastly, several PE readers posted comments that the police needs to better combat crime. We're not giving Moreno Valley officials a pass because crime and homicides are indeed a serious problem in the place "where dreams soar." On September 23 just after 1:30 AM, the PE reported that a man was shot dead in the area of Perris Boulevard and Alessandro. On September 7, the murder of 6-year-old Tiana Ricks took place; that story has surfaced all over the media. The accused murderer, Keandre Narkie Johnson, a documented member of the Edgemont Criminals, a Moreno Valley-based street gang, was charged with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang. These acts are a complete disgrace to the dignity of life. We don't want Moreno Valley becoming Chicago of today or South Los Angeles of the 1990's.

Solving violent criminal problems, combating gang activity, and stopping the sale of illegal drugs is a complex issue. Some of the violence could be controlled by increasing law enforcement presence in the dangerous neighborhoods and known places of gang activity with regular marked and undercover patrols. We understand that with more police comes the perception of government intrusion. If an innocent high school youth walking along Sunnymead Boulevard was stopped by the police on the way to the Moreno Valley Mall to get Grandma a gift, there will be a degree of insult. Perhaps the fair way to handle this is to require law enforcement to document under oath the reason why an officer stops an individual on the streets. However, that's no excuse not to increase police presence.

As Moreno Valley and Riverside County officials continue to find and document disturbing activity taking place all throughout the Inland Empire, they need to give law enforcement the resources necessary to regularly patrol violent neighborhoods until such disgraceful riffraff activity is permanently expelled from our streets, even if that means a patrol car parked for the night at every street corner.

Lastly, officials need to put out public messages to discourage parents, especially fathers, from abandoning their children so our future leaders will not enter into the gang or drug cultures when they grow up. Keandre Narkie Johnson was likely not raised properly in a traditional family setting which led him into the violent street gang. Faced with a long prison term or even the death penalty and probably raised without proper discipline, Johnson will not be able to constructively contribute his skills nor compete in the marketplace of the Inland Empire here in this life if convicted. Good parenting cannot be legislated, but the government on every level can put up a powerful peaceful fight by encouraging parents to do their part in properly raising their children, engaging in constructive activities through their childhood, so they can grow up and become productive and selfless leaders of America.

1 comment:

  1. It's worth noting that as of 10/4/13, a Twitter post of this story implies that we, who are advocating for policies for a safe and robust transportation system, are inducing race into the conversation. The tweet questions why we placed a "precious white" stock family photo underneath the "scary black man" Keandre Narkie Johnson. The tweet reads:

    Scary black man, precious white family: is this really necessary on a blog about transportation? @TTCInlandEmpire pic.twitter.com/4cQ5GhIa9j

    It's worth noting that the snapshot of this blog post linked from the tweet omitted the last paragraph of this blog post which answers the very question: "Is this really necessary on a blog about transportation?" Yes it is necessary. Once again, we've called for officials to put out public messages to discourage parents, especially fathers, from abandoning their children so our future leaders will not enter into the gang or drug cultures when they grow up. The evidence between good parenting by having a father in the house and combating crime is overwhelming with near universal agreement according to those who work in this field. This all applies to children and families of all races. It just so happens that Johnson, who is accused of killing an innocent 6 year girl that has surfaced all over the news media, is an African American involved a Moreno Valley street gang.

    Children, no matter what color their skin is, must be raised properly so that they will have the motivation necessary to work and compete in the marketplace and not join gangs. Our work to improve the Inland Empire's mass transportation systems will mean nothing if the cities they serve are mired in disgraceful crime. What good will our transit systems be if they are not filled with a productive and robust labor workforce which helps pay for the system? Do we all understand that?

    By the way, the family stock photo that was used in the post is a royalty-free public domain photo that was one of a few photos that were freely available for publishing. The message was to further illustrate that engaging in a child's life allows him/her to grow up and be a selfless leader. That's why it was selected. Nothing to do with race.

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