Should jaywalking laws change?

Pedestrians in Seattle, unlike those in some other American cities, often seem hesitant to jaywalk. While that may show us to be a patient and obedient sort of people, strict obeisance to marked crosswalks can impede pedestrian mobility as broken pedestrian signals add time to pedestrians’ perambulations.

Waiting for light signals adds up to a lot of wasted time and reduces the efficiency of walking compared to other modes of transportation. This seems to conflict with the goal of the city’s Walk, Bike, Ride program to make walking one of the easiest ways to get around.

For what it’s worth, only 1 of 4 city council members who participated in our Q&A clearly denied ever jaywalking.

By voter-approved ordinance, marijauna use is the city’s lowest-priority law to be enforced by the city. Our city council members are willing to admit to jaywalking, but would they admit smoking pot? If jaywalking is something that even our elected officials do, should jaywalking be the new lowest law-enforcement priority?

Or should the laws change? Should we make jaywalking legal unless it obstructs other vehicular movement?

Should jaywalking laws be loosened?

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1 Response to “Should jaywalking laws change?”


  • Mostly it seems like the police already treat jaywalking like a low-priority issue, and more an issue of pedestrian safety than anything else. I’ve been caught jaywalking at lights a couple of times. Once the street was deserted and the cop suggested that, in the future, I not jaywalk right in front of him. The other asked that I please not cross against the light while wearing headphones. Neither officer ticketed me or even asked me not to jaywalk, just to be more cautious when doing it.

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