Anti-jaywalking funding expires, MUPD to continue efforts

Anti-jaywalking+funding+expires%2C+MUPD+to+continue+efforts

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

The Marquette University Police Department recently completed its one-year, $8,000 grant to improve pedestrian and traffic safety on campus.

A portion of the grant, which was funded by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, focused on preventing jaywalking on campus.

MUPD Sgt. Carrie Peters is in charge of pedestrian safety programming and was pleased with the student response. “Our biggest contribution to curbing jaywalking has been positive reinforcement among the students,” Peters said.

As part of the grant, MUPD partnered with 7-Eleven to reward students for good behavior. “7-Eleven provided us with freebie coupons so that students could get snacks and other things if they walked across the street while the walk sign was on,” Peters said. “If the negative behavior does influence a traffic accident then we would probably issue a citation, but we try to be as lenient as possible.”

Most of the jaywalking tickets MUPD gives are not real, according to Peters.

“We have fake tickets or warnings which show the person that we give it to what they could have been cited for and the ticket gives them advice on what they can do to cross the street safely,” she said.

Peters said citations are not issued only to people who cross the street and disturb traffic.

“Tickets are handed out to those who have a blatant disregard for the crosswalk sign,” Peters said. “If it says don’t walk, you shouldn’t walk.”

MUPD Capt. Jeff Kranz agreed, noting that not all drivers obey traffic signals. “Even if you have the right of way, you are not going to win against a car,” he said. “You have to be cognizant of your surroundings and just make sure no one is flying through the intersection as you go to walk.”

Samuel Dykes, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said he was almost hit by a car several times. “People fly through the intersections in Milwaukee,” Dykes said. “There are a lot of reckless drivers. Bottom line, you just have to be safe.”

Despite the grant’s expiration, MUPD is continuing its effort to prevent jaywalking. “We’re continuing to do it even though the state is no longer funding us, because we feel it is important to keep pressing the issue of walking safely across streets,” Peters said.