Town moves foward with jaywalking ordinance

FRONT ROYAL – The town is a step closer to ticketing jaywalkers in an effort to curb pedestrian-related traffic incidents.

The Town Council at its regular Monday meeting unanimously approved the first reading of a jaywalking ordinance, which will be up for a second reading and final approval at the council’s next regular meeting.

Town Attorney Doug Napier explained the town can already enforce jaywalking rules and the ordinance is merely adopting the state code into the town’s code.

Town Manager Joe Waltz previously said the town chose to adopt the state’s ordinance before police begin enforcing the rules so citizens have proper notice.

The ordinance stipulates that pedestrians cross public streets only at intersections, official pedestrian crossing signals, marked crosswalks, or as directed by law enforcement officers.

The ordinance states that it is”unlawful for pedestrians to carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles.”

Failure to adhere to the ordinance is punishable as a class four misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $250. Napier explained that it would be at a judge’s discretion to determine the fine amount.

Councilman John Connolly said the decision to enforce jaywalking is not just a matter of public safety but “it is part of a larger plan to address some very unsafe motor vehicle practices.”

“There have been multiple fatalities here in the town and Town Council is trying to act accordingly,” he said.

Noel Williams was the lone citizen to speak during a public hearing regarding the matter. She said as a cyclist she has noticed issues with a South Street pedestrian crossing. She said when she presses the button to cross, motorists do not stop.

“If the motorists aren’t stopping when we press the light and try to cross at these crosswalks, I see that as unfair,” she said.

All councilmen were present at the meeting.