Several students blatantly disregarded crosswalk lighting on their way to and from lunch during the first day of the police department’s crackdown on jaywalking near the high school.
Shortly before noon, teenagers began flowing into the intersection of Main Street and Coyote Trail. Although many of the students pressed the crosswalk button, the majority of those who walked across did so before the light changed, and waved off drivers who attempted to turn on to Main Street from Coyote Trail and vice versa.
“It’s a waste. When you go and try to cross the street, it takes too much time,” Alice High School freshman Antonio Pena said of the jaywalking situation near the high school.
Many of his friends, he said, chose to cross closer to the Shell store farther west along Main Street.
Alice police were situated in the mall parking lot on Tuesday between the two areas.
“Shell? No way I’d walk all the way down there,” Pena said. His friend, Damien Harris said using the crosswalk was the right thing to do, but he said, the police were there to serve as a warning.
Other students who passed through the crosswalk said it was ridiculous that the city has a crosswalk available and that other people chose not to use it.
“It’s just dumb. Why have a crosswalk, and you have people jaywalking,” Mark Martinez said.
“It’s dumb for people not to follow the rules,” Mark’s friend Matthew Amador said, “You should follow the rules, that way you don’t get run over.”
The consensus among the students was that despite the police presence, students would continue to jaywalk, if that was the behavior they were participating in before.
The police officer on duty said the police department is doing what they can to remedy the situation. Police were out during the entire lunch period, station relatively near the intersection.
Officers were told to stay close to the area between the two intersections along East Main Street, where there are no crosswalks, and where students have been known to blatantly run across traffic.
During the lunch period, none of the students who crossed on the crosswalk, violating the light were stopped or received a citation from police.
Near the end of the period, one student ran across the street from a convenience store to the mall parking lot, and was stopped by police. He received a warning for the jaywalking offense.
Lt. Santiago Soliz, of the patrol and traffic division, said that the crosswalk must be utilized as it was intended.
“You can’t just cross at your own risk. You have to cross when it’s safe to cross,” Soliz said. “Traffic is traffic. If the light at the crosswalk is on, and traffic is coming in your direction, it’s safe to cross, if it’s coming in the other direction, that’s crazy. You’re not suppose to do it.”
Soliz said that students who chose to cross despite the no crossing light would be a focus of the jaywalking initiative, along with those students who run across the street where no crosswalk exists.