DENVER — Pedestrians in Denver may soon be able to cross a street outside of a crosswalk without fear of a ticket after the city council approved a bill Monday that would decriminalize jaywalking. The approved ordinance change now heads to Mayor Michael Hancock's desk.
Jaywalking is considered a Class B traffic citation, which can carry a fine of up to $95. However, if Mayor Hancock signs off on the ordinance, it would make jaywalking enforcement a low priority for officers.
Council members Jamie Torres, Jolon Clark and Candi CdeBaca were behind the effort to pass jaywalking decriminalization, citing data that suggests that people of color were disproportionately targeted when it came to issuing citations.
“People are jaywalking all day, every day all over the city, but the citations are only happening in a particular part of the city and they're only targeting a particular type of individual,” CdeBaca told Denver7 earlier this month.
But councilwoman Kendra Black questioned that data and felt decriminalizing jaywalking sends the wrong message. She voted against the bill Monday.
“We try and get money for crossing guards. We want crosswalks and bike lanes, and it's a top priority for every single council member. But then the messaging problem is that we're going to tell people 'Oh, and by the way, if you see a safe place to cross mid-walk, go for it'?” Black told Denver7 earlier this month. “I just want to ensure that people aren't putting themselves in more danger.”
You can read a copy of the full proposed ordinance changes here.