Assemblymember Miguel Santiago and Councilmember José Huizar Call on Support for Proposed CA Pedestrian Crosswalk Countdown Law

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago joined Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, pedestrian-rights advocates, and community members to rally support for AB 390, which will modernize CA's outdated crosswalk signal law.

(Los Angeles, CA) – Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) joined Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar and others Wednesday for a call to action to highlight the importance of changes needed to California’s Pedestrian Crosswalk Countdown law through Assembly Bill 390.

Current state law makes it illegal for a pedestrian to step into a crosswalk after the red hand starts flashing and the countdown begins no matter how many seconds are left to cross. Assemblymember Santiago's AB 390 aims to amend Section 21456 of the CA Vehicle Code by authorizing a pedestrian facing a countdown signal to proceed across the intersection as long as the pedestrian completes the crossing before the display of the steady "DON'T WALK" or "WAIT" or approved upraised hand symbol when the countdown ends.

AB 390 was introduced after Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar authored a 2016 City Council resolution calling on the state to update crosswalk laws, which negatively impact pedestrians, particularly in Downtown Los Angeles.

Today's action brought to light discrepancies in current state law that unfairly punish pedestrians who otherwise are not exhibiting dangerous crosswalk practices.

"Pedestrians shouldn't be preyed upon just to fill local coffers," said Assemblymember Santiago during the press conference. "AB 390 encourages and reinforces pedestrian-friendly communities such as Downtown Los Angeles. I am proud to work with my local counterpart and friend, José Huizar, on this and many other efforts as we strive to make Downtown Los Angeles a tourist destination in, and of, its own."

Assemblymember Santiago and Councilmember Huizar were joined Wednesday on the corner of 3rd and Hill streets in Downtown Los Angeles by: Nat Gale with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation; Deborah Murphy with Los Angeles Walks; Patti Berman with the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, and local residents, including those who have received jaywalking tickets in countdown signal crosswalks under the current state vehicle code.

"In Downtown Los Angeles, Council District 14 and throughout the City of Los Angeles, we are leading the way with Complete Streets initiatives and policies that allow us to prepare for a new Los Angeles," said Councilmember José Huizar. "We are in the midst of a momentous shift when it comes to increasing pedestrian uses and space and our antiquated state crosswalk law has not kept pace with the City of Los Angeles goals in Downtown and elsewhere. AB 390 addresses the concerns that Downtown residents expressed to my office and led to us sponsoring a City Council Resolution calling on the state for a change in the law, and we join our constituents in advocating for full state legislative support of AB 390."

According to The Los Angeles Times, more than 17,000 citations were issued during a four-year period to pedestrians who stepped off the curb when the red hand was flashing.

According to Assemblymember Santiago, other states and cities have passed similar legislation without opposition. There is no evidence of an increase in risky behavior from pedestrians as a result of these newer laws.

AB 390 currently sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee and will head to the Senate Floor for a vote in the coming weeks. Additional information about AB 390 can be found in the attached fact sheet.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly's Communications and Conveyance Committee. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.

Councilmember José Huizar represents Council District 14 in the City of Los Angeles, which includes Downtown Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, El Sereno, and Northeast Los Angeles.

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CONTACT: Santiago: Jackie.Koenig@asm.ca.gov, (916) 319-2053
Huizar: Rick.Coca@lacity.org, (213) 200-9974