Among the many excellent reasons to move to West Hollywood, two standouts rise to the top. First: Yogurt Stop. Second: The very sane officers in the West Hollywood division of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, who seem to have found a loophole in the California Vehicle Code’s jaywalking policy.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, jaywalking—an umbrella term that not only indicates crossing against a red light or in between controlled intersections but also includes being in the street while the countdown clock is still running—can earn you a ticket from the LAPD ranging from say WHAT ($190) to kill me now ($250). WeHo Lt. David Smith told KPCC that such is not the case in his realm. “You can cross the street in between intersections as long you’re not making vehicle traffic stop for you,” he said. “That is technically not jaywalking.” Smith is referring to section 21954(a) of the California Vehicle Code, which reads:
Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.
In short: No cars? No problem. Kamikaze walkers who impede the flow of traffic while jaywalking will get slapped with a fine, but the crossing itself is not an issue.
Though the city seems to be operating in direct opposition to section 21955 of the CVC (“pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk”), WeHo’s interpretation of the law falls in line with its ongoing campaign to be a pedestrian-friendly city. “We’re not going after pedestrians,” Smith said. “We just want everyone to be safe.”