I got ticketed for jaywalking today.

No; worse than that. I got a notice to appear for ignoring a traffic sign, said sign being something along the lines of no pedestrian crossing or something like that.

I took BART to Pleasanton, my stop. I walked, as usual, down the street to the big intersection. The streets are all divided and multi-lane so it’s convenient to stay on the same side or the road as the BART station; my work is eventually on this side, as well.

This particular intersection that I come to is not designed for pedestrians crossing on the side of the road that I am on.

In order to continue the journey, the pedestrian must press the button and wait three separate times to cross the other three sides of the box. It’s idiotic and completely automobile-centric. It takes a really long time. Instead of waiting for the light once, as a car would do, the hapless pedestrian must wait three times.

I waited and crossed carefully, directly across the intersection. I did it in a way that no car had to worry about me.

Right after the intersection, I walked into a parking lot that is a shortcut to another shopping center that houses the coffee shop. From this point, actually, my entire trip to the coffee shop and then to work, almost a half mile, will consist of cutting directly across huge parking lots punctuated by the occasional street crossing, no crosswalks in sight. All hail the almighty automobile.

Right after crossing the street I had keyed my phone and had just connected with Rabid when someone yelled at me. I looked around and there was a motorcycle cop pulled up right next to me.

The cop gruffly said something about a sign, and crossing where there wasn’t a crosswalk.

I guess I’ve grown used to the woods, where you can talk to the cops. This particular one didn’t seem to care for my defense, or for my attempt at explaining myself. He got off his bike and asked me for my driver’s license. I was briefly tempted to ask if I needed a driver’s license to operate myself as a pedestrian, but I resisted.

I told Rabid I had to go and rung off.

The cop asked my some questions about my out of state license and then started rummaging through the saddlebags on his bike. He eventually came up with a thick battered copy of what must have been the combined criminal code. He spent several minutes leafing through the book, briefly reading several passages, when he put the book on the bike seat and pulled a clipboard out of the other saddlebag. He filled out a form, stopping to refer to the book.

He had me sign the form, then he gave me a copy. Said they’d mail me something, and that he had no idea what the fine was.

I politely tried to suggest the intersection was not set up with pedestrians in mind. He launched into a lecture on how it was a dangerous intersection and the lame pedestrian setup was designed for my safety and this and that. And that it’s not safe for me to cross because cars have right turn on red.

Somewhat later, I actually read the form. It’s a notice to appear. Nope, can’t just pay a fine.

I guess I will plead guilty but ask to make a statement. Then I will pull out my timings; pedestrians wait three times as long as cars. Then I will explain that either a no turn on red sign or a thirty second red arrow in one lane only would allow a pedestrian crosswalk to be put into that part of the intersection.

I’m so annoyed.

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