Burlington police stomp out jaywalking

Hundreds of students cross Main Street daily with a disregard for safety precautions and unawareness that they could suffer fines and even points on their license.Failing to abide by state laws not only puts the pedestrian in danger, but also jeopardizes the safety of drivers like Burlington resident Peggy O’Neill-Vivanco.”I think driving through there, and even walking, I see students that make some risky choices in crossing the street,” O’Neill- Vivanco said.”They are young, they are quick, nimble, late for class, want to get back to their dorm — I get that, but they are making an assumption that the person driving the car is going to be just as quick with their responses.”UVM Police Officer Mary Polidori said that, by crossing illegally, students are not only at risk for injury, but also for legal consequences.According to Vermont State statute, “No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for a driver to yield.”Violation of this statute warrants a fine of $214 and four points on your license.Polodori explained a second statute that says when the orange hand is up, even if it is flashing, you are not permitted to cross — resulting in an additional fine of $214.The main area of concern at UVM is the crosswalk at University Heights and Main Street, right outside of the Living and Learning Center.”It is a 25-mile-per-hour area, but people don’t always go 25,” Polidori said. “We want to keep their safety in the forefront of our [students’] minds.”People have mixed feelings about enforcement of and general awareness surrounding the penalties.”Fines only work if they are enforced — it is going to really suck for the people who are made an example of, but students need to understand the gravity of this,” O’Neill-Vivanco said. “They are putting other people in a really dangerous situation.”However, students feel that the law is unrealistic for this intersection.”They need to make the light here longer because there is just not enough time to cross,” freshman Gillian Victor said. “They should also stop people from turning left during the time we can walk, it just makes it even harder.”Other students agreed that the Main Street intersection is an area of high-traffic congestion and brief windows of crossing time.”You have to run to make it in time,” freshman Tess Lippincott said.Burlington residents, police and students are redoubling efforts in response to pedestrians’ inability to see the possible consequences to their actions.”I hate driving and having all of these people just sprinting out in front of you,” sophomore Maggie Druschel said. “I am really afraid I will hit someone when they just dart across.”Residents say they are concerned students aren’t placing safety as their top priority.”It is just unsafe, and for what?” O’Neill-Vivanco said. “So students can sleep in an extra 3 minutes and then rush to class?”