Three dozen citations issued in pedestrian safety sting

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Three dozen motorists cited in Spring, another three dozen cited for the same thing Wednesday – at this rate, we’ll have more than 140 motorists cited for failing to respect pedestrian laws by the end of this year.

And, hopefully, fewer pedestrians hit by cars.

A sting operation carried out in March by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and aimed at making sure motorists obey laws involving pedestrians was such a success, sheriff’s officials decided to do it again.

In March, 37 motorists received citations in the Pedestrian Safety Operation aimed at catching drivers violating crosswalk safety laws. On Wednesday, the same type of operation netted 36 citations.

“Public Safety is our number one priority,” Shirley Miller, sheriff’s spokeswoman said Thursday.

“We received many requests from the public to conduct another pedestrian safety operation like the one that we did in March 2017. And on Wednesday, that’s exactly what we did,” she said.

Wednesday’s operation, carried out jointly by SCV Sheriff’s Traffic and Crime Prevention Unit deputies, took place at the intersections of Bouquet Canyon Road at Seco Canyon Road and Valencia Boulevard at McBean Parkway.

During the operation, a non-uniformed deputy stepped into the crosswalk to see whether oncoming motorists would appropriately yield the right of way.

A total of 36 citations were issued during the operation, Miller said. Of those, 25 citations were issued for failing to yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk, eight were for cell phone violations, one for an illegal U-turn and two for failing to stop at a red light.

Sergeant Scott Shoemaker, of the sheriff’s Traffic Section, reminds drivers and pedestrians that pedestrian safety is a two-way street.

“Drivers need to come to a complete stop at crosswalks and yield to pedestrians,” he said.

“Pedestrians need to do their part by remaining alert when crossing and not being distracted by using their cell phone. As a pedestrian, you can never assume that the driver sees you. You may have the right-of-way, but for your safety always make eye contact with the driver. Make sure that they see you.

In March, the 3-hour operation carried out jointly by Traffic and Crime Prevention deputies took place at the intersections of Soledad Canyon Road/Whites Canyon Road, Soledad Canyon Road at Sierra Highway, and Valencia Boulevard at McBean Parkway.

During that operation, a deputy wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt, and a plaid flannel jacket would step into the crosswalk to test whether oncoming motorists would stop.

The 37 citations were issued to motorists who violated the crosswalk laws while the deputy was crossing, Shoemaker said in a news release issued Thursday afternoon.

At this time last year, the Santa Clarita Valley saw a spike in the number of pedestrians killed on local streets.

In the 20 months preceding April 2016, 10 pedestrians died on Santa Clarita Valley streets and freeways — or, in one case, a parking lot — all killed by moving vehicles.

And, while each life cut short carries its own set of circumstances, two common threads run through eight of the 10 tragedies that might help explain them: darkness and walking outside designated crosswalks.

In April 2016, in response to the spate of pedestrian fatalities, Shoemaker of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station warned that having a right-of-way isn’t enough.

“As a pedestrian, even when you have the right-of-way, don’t assume the vehicle will yield,” he said at the time. “Always make sure that the vehicle is stopping and that they see you.”

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