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Cars down turn onto Carpenter Street from Court Street on a busy Saturday, April 17th. For the first time in a decade all the buildings on Court Street are in use by businesses.

Despite mayor's comments, jaywalking enforcement has not increased

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said in August that the Athens Police Department would begin citing people for jaywalking, but so far the department has not taken action.

Patterson said at an Aug. 24 forum between city and Ohio University officials that APD officers would begin “actively citing” or warning jaywalkers Uptown. Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said he and Patterson never came to a decision on the matter and that the two had only discussed it as an option.

“I don’t know what the mayor might have said about it, but it was preliminary,” Pyle said. “Nothing ever materialized from it.”

He said he and Patterson had considered several options to curb jaywalking, from signs to citations. He still believes jaywalking is a problem. 

“There’s a lot of jaywalking,” he said. “So we were looking at it. We haven’t done anything on it yet.”

Patterson said jaywalking is a difficult offense for APD to enforce because officers usually patrol Uptown in vehicles, not on foot. 

“I mean, the timing has to be right as you’re driving down Court Street to see someone who’s jaywalking and enforce it that way,” he said.

APD could have their parking enforcement officers write jaywalking citations, Patterson said.

He said he “isn’t an advocate” for jaywalking “because it’s against the law,” and still considers it a problem in Athens.

“It’s a safety issue through my lens. … Whether you’re just texting and not paying attention or you could be drinking or whatever, you know, kind of not paying attention while you walk between two cars,” Patterson said.

The Ohio University Police Department hasn’t stepped up their enforcement of jaywalking laws either.

“I have not seen a jaywalking citation in quite some time,” OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan said.

Pyle said APD has more important matters to focus on. His officers are investigating an increase in vehicle break-ins, for example.

“We’re kind of dealing with stuff like that,” he said.

@baileygallion

bg272614@ohio.edu

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