Falls police crackdown on street walkers
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — It's a case the Niagara Falls Police Department and Captain Sal Pino thought they had solved after issuing warnings to pedestrians of all ages caught walking the streets last spring.
Though more than a year later, it seems the message hasn't quite gotten through.
"I believe that that's been a cause of a few of our pedestrian accidents," Pino said.
Last year, officers issued more than 80 of courtesy tickets to pedestrians caught walking in the street. This year, due to an uptick in pedestrian traffic, they're taking it one step further.
"We're going to issue tickets and make them appear in court and have the judge fine them," Pino explained.
It’s a fine that could cost you up to $150 or even jail time as of Thursday morning.
Under New York State Law, walking in the street when an unobstructed sidewalk is provided is considered a traffic infraction year-round.
Police Chief John Chella said the action is needed to not only protect the safety of pedestrians but motorists, as well.
"The pedestrian becomes not only a safety hazard but an obstruction, almost to the point where a motorist has to deviate from his lane to get around someone who refuses to get on the sidewalk. That's going to stop," he said.
Pino stressed the crackdown is not a result of a hit and run accident Monday that left one woman dead and a child injured. He said that at the time they were crossing the street they were using a crosswalk.