Lafayette Police Chief Says Pedestrians Have Rights, Too

Chief Eric Christensen hit the bricks recently for a pedestrian's-eye view of what it's like crossing the street in his town. (Video taken in Sacramento).


Proving he has a sense of humor as well as a deep and abiding respect for his mandate to uphold the law in town, Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen sojourned down to Mt. Diablo Blvd. and Moraga Road one recent commute hour and watched the game many residents call "Pedestrian Ping-Pong."

The chief's sense of humor came through in his findings from the evening, along with a new sense of mission for what he said is one of the town's most prolific problems, when he wrote about his experience in Steve Falk's City Manager's Friday.

"I sat there for a long time and watched the drivers as they approached the intersection to make their turn," the chief wrote. "It took some time, and I had to used my finest powers of deduction, but I finally recognized what the problem is. It’s the drivers."

The chief was particularly unimpressed by the number of cell phone addicts, rearward facing "stop touching your brother" drivers and those he saw actually shouting at pedestrians to "hurry up" as that red light kept them from their evening Pilates class.

"My big takeaway this week is that walking through a crosswalk shouldn’t be like a video game," the chief wrote, "and so we here in the Lafayette Police Department are going to concentrate on crosswalk violations for a while. People need to slow down, take their time, and be respectful of the pedestrians among us... so, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your teenage drivers: we who wear the blue uniforms are on the hunt for crosswalk law violators. And, since you asked: yes, that one motor officer will be hiding in those bushes next to the crosswalk."

Now you know. Don't say we didn't tell you. 

Pat September 18, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Lafayette drivers are far more important than those snively-nosed pedestrians. Surely, everyone knows this. As George Orwell says in "Animal Farm," Lafayette has become home to the More Equal Pigs. I walk Happy Valley daily. I can count the times drivers have stopped when I'm waiting in the crosswalk at Happy Valley School on one hand (when the crossing guard isn't there). Apparently the law isn’t enough - nor is the bilious green reminder sign to "Stop when pedestrians are in the crosswalk." Or does the sign really mean "Stop when pedestrian is immediately in front of your car and you might damage your hood if you mow him/her down, then your pilates time (see above) will be spent taking your car in and dealing with those pesky insurance people" (Right, I know, they'll have their "people" take care of those things.)
Jodie September 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Three cheers for Chief Christensen!!
Tim Davis September 18, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Hi David. I have no doubt your observations about the dangers of that intersection are correct but a friendly warning about making predictions. I did the same thing last year and a young girl was seriously injured at the crossing I mentioned within HOURS. It took me a month to recover and that is nothing compared to how long she needed to recover. But I know what you are saying
Fred Wright Lopez September 19, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Thanks Chief! Appreciate your concern. I'm legally blind don't drive and walk Mt. Diablo Blvd. regularly. Even when I use a white cane Ive encountered the cell phone talkers and rolling stoppers who refuse to yield to pedestrians when light turns green. Enforcement is long over due. However given limited police resources perhaps establishing a smart phone application for reporting these and other violations (parking in disabled stall without permit) could be used in combination with enforcement combination. The new Mt Diablo street redesign with " bumpers" extending an extra foot into stree is a great idea affording a bit extra protection. Thanks! Fred Wright Lopez - 18 years Lafayette resident
KnowMatterWhat September 19, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I get around primarily via bicycle and praise the Chief for his concern and action regarding this issue. I encounter the occasional selfish or oblivious driver. I feel it's up to me to drive defensively (as if the car does not see me or will not yield to me). I utilize the Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail often and would like to commend the abundance of conscientious drivers who go out of their way to stop when I'm crossing St. Marys Rd @ Florence Dr. Thanks! It's much appreciated.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »