Monday, April 10, 2006

Only in a car-centric world do the elderly get ticketed for taking too long to cross the street. Hard to believe, but true:
An 82-year-old woman received a $114 ticket for taking too long to cross
a street
. Mayvis Coyle said she began shuffling with her cane across
Foothill Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley when the light was green,
but was unable to make it to the other side before it turned red.

She said the motorcycle officer who ticketed her on Feb. 15 told her she
was obstructing traffic.

"I think it's completely outrageous," said Coyle, who described herself
as a Cherokee medicine woman. "He treated me like a 6-year-old, like I
don't know what I'm doing."

Los Angeles police Sgt. Mike Zaboski of the Valley Traffic Division said
police are cracking down on people who improperly cross streets because
pedestrian accidents are above normal. He said he could not comment on
Coyle's ticket other than to say that it is her word against that of the
citing officer, identified only as Officer Kelly.

"I'd rather not have angry pedestrians," Zaboski said. "But I'd rather
have them be alive."

Others, however, supported Coyle's contention that the light in question
doesn't give people enough time to cross the busy, five-lane boulevard.

"I can go halfway, then the light changes," said Edith Krause, 78, who
uses an electric cart because she has difficulty walking.

On Friday, the light changed too quickly even for high school students
to make it across without running. It went from green to red in 20 seconds.

Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said she has asked transportation officials to
figure out how to accommodate elderly people.

"We should look at those areas with predominantly seniors and
accommodate their needs in intersections" she said.

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