January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 45°F


Cornell Police combat illegal street crossings on campus

In a planned crackdown on illegal street crossings, the Cornell University Police Department issued 143 tickets across Cornell’s campus to students and community members over the course of two days last week.

ZONER said street crossing causes the most harmful injuries.

The New York State Selective Traffic Enforcement Program provided Cornell Police officials with a $9,600 grant to increase enforcements for the crackdown.

Kathy Zoner, chief of the Cornell University Police Department, said illegal street crossing-related problems were the reason for the campaign.

“Pedestrian crossing violations are very common,” Zoner said. “They are also the most dangerous violations involving injuries that occur on campus.”

Sergeant Anthony Tostanoski said between 2009 and 2010, Cornell Police reported an increase from nine to 18 personal injury accidents on campus. This year, the department has reported nine.

Tostanoski, who was on the scene of the ticketing for the majority of the two and a half-hour time periods, said only two of the 143 tickets issued were a result of a jaywalking violation.

Cornell sophomore Jacob Arluck received a ticket for crossing the street despite a “do not walk” signal. He said Cornell should have sent a campus-wide email to warn students of the upcoming campaign.

Arluck said he did not notice any significant street-crossing behavior changes among students after the two-day period. He said he believed the crackdown was an attempt by Cornell to lessen the amount of pedestrian accidents on campus, but could not foresee it having lasting effects.

“Ticketing jaywalkers who actually endanger themselves or others makes perfect sense,” Arluck said.

Tostanoski said Cornell does not earn a profit from the funds generated when enforcing state traffic laws, as the fine money instead goes to the city. He said the Ithaca City Court will determine the penalties ticketed students will face on a case-by-case basis. He could not provide an estimate for the student fines.

Zoner said Cornell Police have had campaigns against illegal street crossings for two years.

In the weeks prior to Sept. 27, Cornell Police officials disseminated about 568 warnings to students. More than 950 educational flyers were handed out to violating pedestrians to raise awareness about crossing the street properly.

Tostanoski said he hopes the campaign will have lasting effects on pedestrian behavior.

“I hope the community members who were ticketed have learned from this experience,”
Tostanoski said.