Council discusses jaywalking ordinance

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's a state law that's been on the books for years, but is rarely enforced. Now the City of Lake Charles is set to crackdown on those who jaywalk or don't yield to oncoming traffic.

"This is Lake Charles... I've jaywalked myself because my house is between in the middle of a long block. So are we going to be technical with this are we going to give warnings with this. We are not really a metropolitan area," said Councilwoman Luvertha August.

Author of the ordinance - Councilman John Ieyoub says that wasn't his intent. "It was because of complaints around McNeese State University. A lot of students are not following the walk ways and creating dangerous situations for themselves," explained Ieyoub.

According to Ieyoub the amended version would give McNeese State University Police the authority to issue tickets for jaywalking. The fines proposed would be 20 dollars for first offense and 30 dollars for each subsequent offense.

City Attorney Billy Loftin explains the person may plead guilty and mail the fine in by mail. If the person fails to appear in court at the time and date indicated on the citation - the court may impose an additional penalty in an amount not to exceed the original violation, unless the fine was paid by certified mail and the post mark indicates payment was mailed on or before the date indicated on the citation.

However others expressed concern about targeting just one area and not clearly warning pedestrians.

"I'm concerned in the downtown area: people go back and forth from Luna to A.J.'s or they park by the old Sears property and walk across the street to Sha Sha's. You start writing tickets on one side of town and not writing on the other because of whatever reason you are going to run into some problems," said Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.

"I think the solution to that would be if we had signs in place in specific areas on the streets saying no jaywalking," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.

After much discussion the council felt it was in their best interest to amend the ordinance with specific language stating which areas along with signage to warn pedestrians. The item was deferred and will be brought back up at the next regular meeting on May 5th.

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