YPD tickets jaywalkers on Elm St.

Twenty-two-year-old Chris Pollard’s ’09 criminal record was clean. He had never so much as gotten a parking ticket.

But Wednesday morning at about 10:15, the Berkeley College senior was flagged down by a Yale Police Department officer. What was his crime? Pollard, like dozens of students every morning, had jaywalked across Elm Street.

But this morning was different. Two police officers stood near the post office, waiting to hand him, and dozens of others, a “little pink slip.”

After picking up a package from the post office, Pollard was returning to his room in Berkeley. As he crossed Elm Street on the southeast side of High Street — the side without a crosswalk — a police officer pulled him over. After asking to see Pollard’s Yale ID, the officer wrote him a citation, listing his offense as “crosswalk.” The ticket, though, carried no fine, he said.

But the senior said he remains unclear about whether he faces more serious penalties if caught jaywalking again.

“I just don’t know what to make of it,” Pollard said of his citation. “I don’t know if it’s going to stop me from jaywalking again. Although it might if I see a police officer.”

Pollard does not seem to the be the only one questioning the value of these citations. Students interviewed said they remain unconvinced that ticketing will be able to significantly decrease jaywalking on Yale’s campus and, by extention, crack down on unsafe student street-crossing behavior.

University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

When Elm Street got busier yesterday afternoon, the police were still manning their posts, but it seems they had more trouble punishing all transgressors.

Maggie Reid ’09 said she saw a police officer giving a girl a ticket on the Old Campus side of Elm Street across from Berkeley as a group of about 20 students crossed illegally. The officer stopped one of the students in the pack, but the others crossing were not detained, she said.

Rather than ticketing students, the police should work on constructing a walkway along the northeast side of Elm Street to replace the sidewalk currently blocked by the construction on Calhoun College, Reid said. The construction leaves students with the options of either making a time-consuming detour or crossing illegally, and most choose the latter, she said.

Reid is the science and technology editor for the News.

Mark Abraham ’04 — a member of the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, which has been lobbying the Yale administration to push for increased street safety since July — agreed that while “all traffic regulations should be enforced when possible,” the police should prioritize enforcement activity based on what puts individuals at greatest risk.

“A jaywalker is less of a risk then a speeder,” he said. “There should be more emphasis on motor violations [and] lower speed limits.”

Undergraduates interviewed Wednesday night said they were shocked that police officers were trying to curb the time-honored Eli tradition of jaywalking, even if it may be for their own good.

“That’s crazy,” said Trumbull junior Alex Ramey ’10. “I can’t believe they’re actually doing that, although a lot of people do cross pretty recklessly.”

Many rushed students aren’t inclined to obey the “illogical traffic patterns” at the corner of Elm and High streets, Ramey added.

Nate Dowlin ’11, a Berkeley resident who says he crosses Elm Street about four times a day, said the strategy of issuing warnings might not convince students to stop jaywalking.

But if the police started handing out real tickets, he said, students might take heed.

—Margy Slattery contributed reporting.


  • JE

    they really need to fix the lights at the intersection of elm/york/broadway. it's so confusing. it takes like 5 minutes to get a walk signal so nobody waits for it, but you never know when the cars from broadway are going to start moving…

  • Anonymous

    Kudos to the YPD. If we're going to expect vehicles to stop for us in crosswalks, or not run red lights, then we pedestrians also need to play by the rules. I agree that something better needs to be done with the construction at Elm & College, though.

  • Anonymous

    This is probably the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while. If New Haven has a problem with us jaywalking, it might as well develop a traffic system that makes some sense. Paint a cross walk! While you're at it, why don't you add a couple diagonal ones, too?

  • anon

    This is not a good idea. Does the YPD really think it's feasible to have the hundreds of students who must cross during high-use times (10.15-10.30, 11.15-1130) congregate on the corner of high and elm, waiting for the first light to cross, then waiting for the second light? The actual corner would be unable to accommodate the throng of students.

    In other traffic systems (i.e. certain other countries) the streets and crosswalks are designed in a manner that makes jaywalking impractical and always dangerous. This is not the case on Elm St., (just like it is not the case in manhattan).

  • BR

    When is the last time a jaywalker killed someone else? Meanwhile, reckless motorists -- particularly those speeding and talking on their cell phones -- cause tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and millions of injuries per year. Fact is that you can give out as many jaywalking tickets as you want, and it's probably not a bad idea considering how many Yale students have been injured or killed just over the past few years by traffic, but students are not going to be entirely safe until the speed limits in the area around campus and Downtown New Haven are reduced to 15-20mph and speeders and red light runners are removed from the road. That's simply the only humane thing to do.

    For the city, it's also economic suicide not to.

  • Anonymous


    "For country and for Yale"…. not cool.
    Way to deface Yale history.

  • Maria

    After the deadly accidents that have happened around the Yale Campus? I can't imagine why one would think that "jaywalking" was a tradition to brag about. I have also noticed that people around the Yale Campus never learned how to interpret pictures on the crosswalk signs. While driving around here, I have been well into a turn and someone just steps off the curb without any consideration that the car might injure or even kill his/her. It doesn't take much for something that weights a couple of tons (even going at 10-15 mph) to knock a person down. People should really be more careful for themselves and more considerate of drivers and cross at a crosswalk and only when the crosswalk sign shows a white (kind of stick figure) indicating crossing. Thanks.

  • Hieronymus

    Hey, Yale activists demanded more focus on "pedestrian safety"; now they have it!

  • David Streever

    Despite the recent misinformation from the Yale Daily, jaywalking is a foolish practice, and I applaud the police for attempting to enforce some order.

    Yes, the street isn't well-designed for pedestrians right now. However, instead of clamoring for YOUR right to disregard your own safety, perhaps you should practice being safe: wearing helmets when you bike, biking with traffic, walking with walk lights, wearing lights when biking, not wearing headphones when walking alone at dark, etc.

    The level of irresponsibile, unsafe behavior I see exhibited on a daily level blows my mind.

    Many of us (elmcitycycling) and the city are working very hard at increasing safety for EVERYONE in New Haven. To that end, I've started a block watch in East Rock: students merrily zip down the sidewalks, against traffic, without even looking. Students bike in traffic with headphones & no helmets. I've seen members of the Yale cycling team fly through a red light, with oncoming traffic, during day light hours.

    Seriously, we all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves in mature, safe fashions. You discredit our work when you choose to break the law.

    If there is such a problem with the crosswalks, and the city is demonstrating an investment in fixing it, then use them, and make the problems known & manifest. If we have 100 students jaywalk, no one sees that the crosswalks are under capacity, all they see are jaywalkers.

    If cyclists ride up sidewalks, endgangering pedestrians, then no one sees that the roads are unsafe. They just see bad cyclists, and they are unlikely to help or support us.

    The idea is to "Share" the roads: to share the public spaces. We need to actually share, not just expect others to do all the work for us.

    When I moved to New Haven, I saw the streets weren't safe for cyclists, so I demanded a meeting with City Hall & got it. I invited friends & community members & the Elm City Cycling organization. Now I sit on the board of that group & work with a very supportive city hall.

    When I saw the summer rash of burglaries, muggings, & other crime in East Rock, I founded a walking/biking group of neighbors. We have a nightly patrol that includes anywhere from 4 to 10 community members.

    You can get involved. I have no budget, no time, & no energy, as I also run my own business & enjoy a very active social life. However, we are all young, we can all give a little more, & we can all become involved & engaged in our community. It isn't about what your owed, but about what you can do to help things come into place.

    Thank you,
    David Streever

    Want to help? Get involved:

  • Anonymous

    Why ticket pedestrians but not the drivers who speed, run red lights and block crosswalks? The cyclists who ride on sidewalks? The Yale construction managers who block everyone's visibility with thoughtlessly placed barricades? Don't pick sides, ticket them all! Road safety depends on everyone playing by the rules - not just the pedestrians.

  • resident

    It would be great if students channeled their frustration here by asking for a legitimate crosswalk and a more pedestrian friendly streetscape. I hope that Yale PD cracks down and gives out tickets to students until students start working to change the current situation there, which is dreadful.

    Call the City Transportation office: 946 8078. Call the Yale Office of New Haven Affairs. Complain. Change the situation, which is currently messed up beyond belief.

  • Anonymous

    More attention should be paid by the NHPD & YPD to traffic violators. Ticketing pedestrians is not going to affect nearly as much change as ticketing those who blatantly run lights, turn illegally, and speed--endemic problems in this city that seem to be ignored by police.

  • Anonymous

    I think it's great that the YPD are ticketing jaywalkers, but consistency is key if any progress is to be made. Inconsistent disciplinary practices usually result in frustration on both sides, not behavior change.

    Also, I never thought that the pedestrians at Yale were a problem until I started driving in the city. As dangerous as drivers may be, pedestrians can sometimes be extremely selfish and have no regard for drivers.

  • TownieNotYalie

    Nice. Finally after 12 years of living in New Haven the Yallies are being held accountable for bad behavior.

    My issue is not with Jaywalking which can be done when people pay attention., My problem is with the dazed students who walk into traffic and expect everyone in a car to stop… because the students are too busy to take a minute to look.

  • S

    Why doesn't the mighty Yale just build a pedestrian bridge? When i see yalies crossing carelessly i hit the gas to scare them a bit-its funny how quickly they pick up the pace-get over yourself yalies, ..try and do that in new york-see if any cabbie cares where you go to school when you jaywalk at a greenlight.

  • Alum

    I find a lot of these posts amusing in their self-righteousness about terrible jaywalker Yalies. As a Yale college undergrad (no car) and a Yale college grad (with a car) I can offer some perspective - and it goes BOTH ways. Ultimately, CARS kill people not jaywalkers and as I walk to and from the hospital every morning I see horrendous driving. People speed through red lights and make illegal turns - sometimes in front of police officers - and nothing happens to them (#14 is evidence of this - to speed up when you see pedestrians is just disturbing). While I agree that there is a lot of jaywalking in and around campus and that pedestrians can be very thoughtless, ultimately, this goes both ways. New Haven has done a very very poor job of enforcing traffic rules and regulations so drivers have gotten a free pass. Issuing tickets to jaywalkers will not be taken seriously until the police enforce laws for drivers. Reading between the lines, many of the above posts point to the dissatisfaction and resentment felt among non-Yalie residents. Yale can and should do more, but the university has invested heavily in the past 15 years in the area surrounding it. If you have issues with Yale, then either move out of New Haven (or stop taking advantage of the nightlife, restaurants and cultural opportunities that Yale directly or indirectly subsidizes) or get involved with the community.

  • JE09

    Well Yale students have been calling for increased traffic safety enforcement. But once again we seem surprised that we also are now subject to the rules. It's ok for students to jaywalk, and it's too long a wait to cross the street safely. But everyone else has to drive slower and be targeted for the slighest infraction. Guess we Yale students should remind the community again how our time and requirements are so much more important than anyone elses.

  • joey

    You really should'nt go the extra mile when you have a specific destination.
    - Alfred E.Neuman
    i just thought that was cool..
    MAD goes green then flip flops for da machine

  • Alum05

    To #14: New York in general is a much more pedestrian-friendly city than New Haven. Speed limits are much lower downtown and crosswalks are better-spaced and better-timed. Your comparison is dishonest and invalid, and your comment about hitting the gas is immature. However, Yale should consider footbridges, especially across Elm Street and perhaps across the other cross-streets that break up the northern part of campus, as well as the streets near the highway at the northern edge of the med school.

  • Andrew Bro

    Giving the Students something else to think about i imagine. This is your Sept.admonishment. They will increase with secerity as the year progresses.You will be obedient to the powers that be.

  • Andrew

    .."they will increase with severity .."
    i even have abc spell check..

  • Matt

    Forcing walkers to crosswalks doesn't work if the crosswalks sequences are poorly designed.

    Take for instance the corner of Trumbull and Whitney. The sign says "turning vehicles yeild to pedestrians" yet there is a green light for the turning vehicles trying to get on 91N. I see accidents and road raged drivers there daily because drivers don't read and are all trying to catch the illogically "green" light.

    If New Haven wanted to do something constructive they would do something to stop the ubiquitous double parkers around campus.

    Without having wasted 6 lights trying get through the one lane left open by some lazy double parkers drivers would be less compelled to make sure they do catch a light when they finally clear the obstruction.

  • About time!

    I have been complaining about this for years! THANK YOU!! These kids come to this city and think they have the right to walk out in front of cars! Try ticketing Chapel st between york and park!! They walk out in front of moving cars!! I have had so many close calls it is crazy! They don't even look both ways?? Did you kids not learn this in Kindergarten??? It is harder for a moving car to stop than for you to at the least LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS!!!!

  • OC

    No, jaywalkers don't kill anyone.

    However their level of self-absorption is mind-blowing. While riding the Yale shuttle to work last week, we waited for three light changes at Prospect & Grove while student blithely strolled against the "Don't Walk" signal.

    Cars were backed up to Trumbull Street going North, and back to Church Street to the East. This creates unnecessary gridlock and inconvenience for people trying to get to their own jobs/ classes/ appointments, and unfortunate ill-will toward those individuals with a terrific G.P.A. but clearly all the sense and consideration of a lamp post.