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Pedestrians Targeted In San Diego Police Sweep

Jaywalkers beware. The San Diego police are coming after you.

In a daylong pedestrian sweep Thursday, police targeted jaywalkers and people who cross streets even though that menacing red hand sign is glowing.

Design for Health

Aired 3/8/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego police launched a daylong enforcement sweep targeting violations on the part of people walking, jogging, bicycling and skateboarding on city streets.

The idea is to teach pedestrians the rules of the road, said San Diego Police Lieutenant Steve Hutchinson. While police officers will mostly be giving out warnings, they will also not be afraid to hand out tickets.

“It may entail writing a ticket or two, but those lessons, we just have to endure," he said. "Sometimes people don’t understand until they get cited and they have to pay a ticket.”

There have been 13 accidents in San Diego this year where cars hit pedestrians. The pedestrian was at fault in 10, and six were fatal, Hutchinson said. He hopes the crackdown will get everyone to wake up.

“If a pedestrian is walking with headphones on and a driver is distracted, looking at his texts, those two, they collide, even if the pedestrian is not at fault, the pedestrian is going to lose,” he said.

The crackdown was slated to run from 7 a.m. to midnight Thursday. Crackdowns will continue at regular intervals throughout the year, Hutchinson said.

A special police detail is assigned to the project. Hutchinson would not say how many officers are participating, only that there are "quite a few."

Police will also be looking out for bikers breaking traffic rules and skateboarders, who according to Hutchinson cannot ride on sidewalks or streets. All areas of the city will be targeted, as no one specific area has more pedestrian accidents, he said.

Thursday's operation was partially funded by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, in conjunction with the National Traffic Safety Administration.

Comments

Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | March 7, 2013 at 3:32 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

One would think the risk of being killed would be incentive enough to prevent J walking. Why do we need police to protect people from themselves?

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Avatar for user 'jenjen'

jenjen | March 7, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Skateboarders cannot ride on sidewalks OR streets, nice. :(

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Avatar for user 'RyGlen'

RyGlen | March 7, 2013 at 4:53 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Attacking pedestrians will only decrease pedestrian presence in our streets, which will continue to allow motorists to speed along unsuspecting of potential human obstacles. The city needs to encourage a greater presence of pedestrians in the city in order to attract more activity to downtown areas. Better bike lanes, and more pedestrians using public transit in place of automobiles would slow down auto traffic and force drivers to become more aware of non-motorized street users...that's where the grant money should be spent to ensure safety: on infrastructure, not misdirected traffic enforcement.

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Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | March 7, 2013 at 5:06 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

When will the police start conducting crosswalk stings to catch motorists who violate the right of way of pedestrians?

Does the SDPD even know what a "crosswalk sting" is?

Do they know what an "unmarked crosswalk" is?

Inquisitive minds want to know.

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Avatar for user 'backoff'

backoff | March 7, 2013 at 6:01 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Dear SDPD Decision Makers,

Nothing better to do on a Thursday? How about dealing with the crack head bums that hang out on the corner of 1st and broadway, screeching at people walking between meetings?

Stop harassing our citizens with stupid laws and "stings", you aren't attacking drug cartels. There are over 1 million people living in this city. 16 accidents qualifies as statistically irrelevant, so use your resources better and don't insult our collective intelligence and self sufficiency that you are "protecting us".

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Avatar for user 'Walter Koenig'

Walter Koenig | March 7, 2013 at 6:16 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Meanwhile there is no police presence in our neighborhood and several burglaries per month.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 7, 2013 at 6:39 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

There are people smoking crack, meth, marijuana, and drinking all over downtown. Not to mention standing with their private parts exposed to urinate anywhere they please, or defecating, or vomiting on the sidewalks.

They also yell at, follow, and harass people who walk by. I would not want to walk down C street myself if I were female, even in the middle of the day.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 7, 2013 at 8:33 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with Derek's comment, why don't they crack down on motorists who violate pedestrians right of way?

I have almost been hit numerous times walking downtown with the right of way.

I have also witnessed an elderly man who was hit while he was crossing the street and it was clearly his right of way.

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Avatar for user 'td'

td | March 7, 2013 at 8:43 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

The police could hand out jaywalking tickets all day long at the intersection of Park Boulevard and University Avenue. Pedestrians frequently ignore traffic signals when hurrying to board their bus or when they get off the bus. They seem pretty reckless to me.

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Avatar for user 'VBSD'

VBSD | March 7, 2013 at 9:49 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow does this burn me!! Wish they would spend as much time with speeding cars through Balboa Park and our neighborhood streets. Never see speed checks but many city streets are treated as defacto freeways with distracted drivers. 20 is plenty. For police to say even if the pedestrian as they right of way they'll lose to the car shows their lack of priorities. Cars don't get a free pass because they weigh more - they should be held more accountable for that reason. WHY AREN'T SPEEDING & DISTRACTED DRIVERS BEING TARGETED BY STINGS!!

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | March 8, 2013 at 6:39 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Police really ought to crack down on cars who Hollywood stop and speed on neighbourhood streets! Here in Normal Heights a community where a lot of us walk it's dangerous to do so.

Hey Duck

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Avatar for user 'mclanea'

mclanea | March 8, 2013 at 8:10 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

This is about revenue, pure and simple. Last year, they terrorized people with $50 tickets for not "curbing wheels" on any sort of incline all over downtown. People who didn't even park on hills were ticketed.

In 2012, I paid several hundred dollars in parking tickets in east village for 2 hour parking violations, even though I moved my car every 90 minutes and kept careful documentation after I got my first ticket. I was told that written documentation verified by photos I took on my phone with date & GPS stamps were not sufficient evidence to fight the tickets. When pressed, I was told that the tickets had to be paid because the tickets had been issued and nothing I submitted as evidence would overturn the fines. When I questioned the person writing tickets I was told that cars with chalk on their tires were violators, regardless of when they moved.... um, that's not what the signs say.

At the end of 2012, I moved my business out of downtown. Done with their silly revenue games. Why not just raise my taxes? At least I can write that off.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | March 8, 2013 at 8:26 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

I have watched a police officer write a business professional a jaywalking ticket while literally around the corner on C street two men were smoking meth through a glass tube. It is obvious what they are doing - the tax paying business professional will pay money to the city, but the meth addict will cost money because of the expense of arresting and jailing him. What a joke. Law enforcement officials should be respected, but spend some time working downtown and one can begin to see some of the roots of the anti-cop sentiment that seems to be spreading lately.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 8, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

This is why people think Chris Dorner was a hero.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 8, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

RyGlen I hardly think enforcing the law is "attacking pedestrians". What would be better? Create a zone where everyone knows they will not get ticketed for j-walking? Hoards of people would fill the streets creating a traffic nightmare, or, people would get creamed by cars all the time. It is better to enforce the laws in place, so drivers don't have to dodge unexpected humans and traffic can flow easier. If the city becomes 100% pedestrian friendly, it will be 0% car friendly.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 8, 2013 at 9:47 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Thumbs up for Derek!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 8, 2013 at 9:52 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey PD, why don't you guys do it on Friday and Saturday nights downtown? Your Arevalos types will have a field day with the hotties at GasTramp Quarter!

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Avatar for user 'normandiewilson'

normandiewilson | March 8, 2013 at 10:03 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

I cannot believe how irresponsible it is for San Diego Police to frame these accidents as "the pedestrian's fault." The "crackdown" they are talking about should be framed 80% at drivers, and 20% at pedestrians. I understand jaywalking is dangerous; pedestrians should be crossing at designated areas. But everywhere I've ever been in Southern California, the truth is that the car is always king. I was hit as a pedestrian once, while getting into my car parked on Santa Monica Blvd in LA. I was violating no laws - just some idiot driver trying to beat rush hour traffic. He hit me and then drove away and thankfully was tracked down by someone else. A car is a very dangerous weapon. The police are right about one thing; if a car is in a contest with a pedestrian, the pedestrian is always going to lose. VBSD and RyGlen make some very, very excellent points as well. Living near El Cajon Blvd. I know all too well about the city's "boulevards" being used as freeways. Does SDPD think that tourists want to come with their families and walk around the Gaslamp district after hearing that 6 people were killed while doing just that, in February alone? I was taught as a driver that pedestrians always have the right of way. Always, always, always. I cannot believe how this is being framed. It truly makes me sick. Pedestrians need to be more cautious, absolutely. But if you are behind the wheel of a car, it is your responsibility to not hit a person and kill them. No matter if they're jaywalking or not. Ugh! I'm so angry about this!!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 8, 2013 at 10:56 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

MCLANEA, hopefully if there is enough people with your shared experience, Lansdowne will do something about it.

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Avatar for user 'td'

td | March 8, 2013 at 11:06 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

mclanea, your comment about parking tickets is sort of off-subject for this article, but I want to mention that I had a similar experience in downtown San Diego with an alleged 2-hour parking violation. The City fought me all the way to Superior Court, where a judge finally acknowledged that my GPS data trumped the City's weak evidence. It took a year to go through the entire arduous ticket appeal process, but in the end, the City refunded my fine plus court fees.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 8, 2013 at 11:44 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

I realize that the information either wasn't inlcuded in the report or wasn't provided by the cops, but this is just one of several operations aimed at lowering pedestrian fatalities. There are others planned to go after motorists who violate the speed and crosswalk laws.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 8, 2013 at 11:47 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Alex, did you point tell the officer about the crack smokers that were around the corner? How was he supposed to know they were there? You expected him to be clairvoyant, to see what's going on someplace that he's not at, while you do nothing to help? Who scrapes the moral low ground in this scenario?

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | March 8, 2013 at 12:26 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

offramp, I hope you did not evoke an emmotional response from yourself by imagining a scenario where I had not told the cop about crack smokers. I have reported activity to the police many times, and I have spoken with officers about certain areas downtown who told me the area where I saw the meth/crack smokers is well known by the police as a high drug activity area. The officer giving jaywalking tickets set up right around the corner from this well known spot. He actually does this quite often. I'm not an officer, yet if I was, I could aresst several people a day in the same areas on my lunch break. But then I wouldn't be meeting my revenue quota and I might not work my way up through the police ranks as quickly.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | March 8, 2013 at 12:42 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

"V C Section 21950 Right of Way at Crosswalks
Right-of-Way at Crosswalks
21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

(d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. "

Interestingly, section a) does not seem to differentiate between pedestrians crossing with or against the light. Also, it mentions duties of drivers to safeguard pedestrians only at crosswalks (either marked or unmarked, though what exactly an unmarked crosswalk looks like I couldn't say). This code could use some updating.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 8, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Alex, so the answer to my question was, no, you did not, at that time, tell the officer that there was an active crack smoker just around the corner.

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Avatar for user 'offramp'

offramp | March 8, 2013 at 2:26 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

benz72, an unmarked crosswalk means that, unless otherwise noted, the corner of any block starts a crosswalk to an opposite block's corner.

VC21462. The driver of any vehicle, the person in charge of any animal, any pedestrian, and the motorman of any streetcar shall obey the instructions of any official traffic signal applicable to him and placed as provided by law, unless otherwise directed by a police or traffic officer or when it is necessary for the purpose of avoiding a collision or in case of other emergency, subject to the exemptions granted by Section 21055.

VC214534(d) - (d) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, a pedestrian facing a steady circular red or red arrow signal shall not enter the roadway.

VC21456. Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words "WALK" or "WAIT" or "DON'T WALK" or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows:
(a) "WALK" or approved "Walking Person" symbol. A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.
(b) Flashing or steady "DON'T WALK" or "WAIT" or approved "Upraised Hand" symbol. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the "WAIT" or "DON'T WALK" or approved "Upraised Hand" symbol is showing.

VC21461.5. It shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to fail to obey any sign or signal erected or maintained to indicate or carry out the provisions of this code or any local traffic ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic ordinance, or to fail to obey any device erected or maintained pursuant to Section 21352.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | March 8, 2013 at 3:32 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

offramp, here is the heart of the problem that I think you are missing - the police have told me they are well aware of the frequent, illegal, dangerous drug activity that occurs up and down C street in broad daylight (I can imagine it is worse at night), including the specific area where I saw crack heads. In my 10+ years working downtown, I have seen dozens of jaywalking sting operations set up right around the corner from the crack head hangout spot, where they hand out tickets like candy all day long. I have never, not even once, seen a crack head/meth mouth sting operation set up. The police can rake in the dough by ticketing the tax paying business professionals, but going after the more dangerous criminals (who probably, like 47% of americans, pay no taxes and likely are paid welfare so that they have the time and money to go play on C street all day) costs the city money, so the motivation is not there and the criminals can run and play free all day and night.

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | March 8, 2013 at 5:08 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

In case everyone missed it, here's an update on the number of tickets handed out to pedestrians: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/mar/08/... (Hint, it's more than 300!)

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Avatar for user 'mclanea'

mclanea | March 8, 2013 at 5:17 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks for the update, @claire.

Stories like this aren't good for the city. Hopefully, someone will make a call to the police chief and focus more on other violations rather than ticketing people on their lunch breaks.

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Avatar for user 'lholling'

lholling | March 9, 2013 at 7:50 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Last night a couple dressed in black crossed in front of us about 50 feet away from an intersection. Reasonably enough, we almost hit them. I used to work downtown and once saw an elderly couple jaywalking across Harbor Blvd and she was using a walker. I constantly see people not only jaywalking, but jaywalking diagonally through busy traffic. Yes, I avoid hitting them, but to say that a car hitting a pedestrian is always the driver's fault is absurd. A law never enforced is not a law at all. I'm glad to hear that at least for a day they gave out tickets. I know I stopped what I considered to be "safe" jaywalking when I found out that a Navy officer was ticketed at the same location for doing the same thing. Just the fact that it was newsworthy and we are talking about it indicates that it did work because it raised awareness in the community.

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Avatar for user 'WonderProfessor'

WonderProfessor | March 9, 2013 at 8:08 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

When are they going to go after the huge number of drivers (including police officers!) who are talking and texting on the cell phones? The studies show that they are as or more dangerous than drunk drivers.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 10, 2013 at 3:05 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

"Missionaccomplished | March 8, 2013 at 9:52 a.m. ― 1 day, 17 hours ago
Hey PD, why don't you guys do it on Friday and Saturday nights downtown? Your Arevalos types will have a field day with the hotties at the GasTramp quarter."

Eye candy no doubt, but then they open their mouths and, well, lets just say ignorant isn't sexy.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 10, 2013 at 3:10 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

Mao, nice to see you here. Haven't seen you since I went into UTA over a year ago (union tribune anonymous - - proud to say I'm >1 yr clean)!!

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | March 10, 2013 at 10:31 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

If the police wanted to help prevent accidents and increase awareness, they would conduct aproactive educational campaign. Let people know the dangers ahead of time.

The fact the cops allow people to commit these potentially dangerous actions shows what their true motives are.

To protect and serve.. their paychecks and pensions.

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Avatar for user 'GreenTechGeek'

GreenTechGeek | March 11, 2013 at 8:17 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

This was a step backwards. Should we be frightened of the police while we walk, ride, or roll through our city? Choosing a form of transportation that makes the air cleaner and improves our fitness? NO. However, for every step backward like this, there are several promising steps forward in San Diego. Our first CicloSDia is coming in August, the monthly e-bike rides are bigger than ever, Urban Bike & Social Club is getting active again (along with scores of other bicycle groups), people are starting to get serious about improved bike infrastructure, bike corrals are popping up, we're getting a bike rental system put in place, and BikeSD.org is having some success whipping people into shape to be effective bicycle activists. Oh, we have a long way to go, but we're starting to see hopeful signs here in Sandy Eggo.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | March 11, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago


A better location would be at some of the east county schools where we see immigrant parents teaching their kids to j walk every morning.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | March 11, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

TOOK ERR JEBS

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 11, 2013 at 1:55 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

GreenTechGeek we shouldn't be frightened of the police, but I am because they like to pull people over and shoot them in the chest for no reason. And then there is the blue line they never dare to cross, they will lie to protect each other no matter what. Christopher Dorner was the only one with enough moral conviction to stand up against the nations biggest bunch of corrupt thugs and look what happened to him.

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Avatar for user 'AF1980'

AF1980 | March 12, 2013 at 1:10 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

San Diego has the worst drivers I've seen in the entire country. People drive however they want here and I never see any police enforcing traffic laws, at least a miniscule amount when compared to other major cities. I've almost been hit multiple times in crosswalks when I had the right of way here. People have no regard for people riding bikes. Every day I see people parked where they are crooked hanging halfway out of a parking spot or taking up two spaces because they are simply too lazy to park correctly. Stop worrying about pedestrians and skateboarders and worry about the people driving the deadly vehicles. Driving is supposed to be a priveledge, walking is supposed to be a right. Seriously, I used to think people drove crazily whenever I would visit Chicago, but before I moved to SD I've never seen anything remotely close to the way people drive here, except for the Dominican Republic, that place is nuts!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 12, 2013 at 2:21 p.m. ― 1 year, 9 months ago

AF1980 you should drive around Tijuana for a few hours. If you make it out alive, you will think San Diego drivers are calm and docile.

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