VIENNA, Va. (WJLA) – Fairfax County Police are now issuing tickets to jaywalking pedestrians at the Vienna Metro station; they say too many people exiting the station are failing to use the crosswalk, leading to a number of accidents.
Despite the bright red brick and fluorescent yellow signs marking the crosswalk, people are colorblind come rush hour.
Monica Johnson, a Metro rider from Centreville, Va., sees it all the time—the 5 p.m. free-for-all, when people press their luck instead of pushing the button to get safely across the street.
“Everyone gets off, runs up these stairs to their cars or runs across the street,” Johnson said. “Everybody has somewhere to be, they gotta get home, they’re running late, so, they probably just go for it.”
In an effort to curb this bad habit, this week Fairfax County Police are giving jaywalking commuters a lesson in safety—one that comes in the form of a $15 ticket and $60 in court fees.
“They shouldn’t be writing them; they should at least give you a warning,” said Metro rider Charlie Garner.
But police have already issued a warning. Last week, Fairfax County Police say they canvassed the Vienna Metro stop, giving out more than 1,000 flyers about pedestrian safety. Now, they’re cracking down, after seeing 24 crashes in the last 18 months involving walkers or bikers.
“Some people need that to get the point across, or else they’ll keep doing it,” said FCPD Sergeant Andy Missler. “A lot of people, they’re just too busy, caught up in their own lives, listening to their iPods, crossing the street, not even paying attention to what’s going on.”
Police officers handing out personal reminders with a price tag will make anyone snap to attention, but even ticket supporters say getting one is a road they’d rather not cross.
Officers told ABC 7 News that they would be at the Vienna Metro station for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening each day this week, during rush hour.
Fairfax County Police have so far given out at least 25 citations to pedestrians who either crossed against the light or didn’t use the crosswalk at all.