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Violations decline in crosswalk stings

Medford police say drivers seem to be getting the word that they must stop for pedestrians


Drivers seem more aware of pedestrian laws after a series of Medford crosswalk stings, police said.

Over the course of five targeted pedestrian enforcement operations around town, citations have decreased but traffic volume hasn't, said Medford police Lt. Mike Moran.

The police department is attributing the drop in tickets to increased public awareness of pedestrians, he said.

Nineteen drivers received tickets for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk during an enforcement operation Thursday afternoon at the intersection of McAndrews Road and North Keene Way. The violation carries a &

36;175 fine. Last week, 21 drivers received tickets for the same violation in a similar sting at the intersection of Central Avenue and Fifth Street.

Two other tickets were issued Thursday to drivers who passed vehicles stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, which also carries a &

36;175 fine. An additional three tickets were written for miscellaneous traffic violations that police did not identify.

The department's last three stings in February and March produced 113 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian. Medford Police Department's first enforcement operation on Feb. 20 at Columbus Avenue and Prune Street resulted in 33 citations for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Citations for the same violation jumped to 57 during a sting the following week at Crater Lake and Grand avenues ' a marked school crossing.

Drivers nabbed in the first two stings gave police a variety of excuses. Some told police that the pedestrian was on the sidewalk and not in the intersection. Others said they didn't see a pedestrian, that they thought the person was a police officer or construction worker or that they didn't know they had to stop. The decoy pedestrian wore a bright orange vest during a portion of all three operations.

But drivers seemed to get the message by the time police monitored the intersection of Eighth and Bartlett streets on March 6, when police wrote 23 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

The next sting will take place Thursday between 11 a.m. and — p.m. at Main and Genesee streets.

Medford traffic officers are planning another nine pedestrian enforcement operations through September. Anyone with suggestions for locations can call the police department traffic division at 774-2269.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail