Warnings were issued Tuesday. But, from now on, drivers who ignore new pedestrian safety signs Downtown will likely face $145.50 fines.
Madison police spent a blustery morning snagging motorists who blew past pedestrians in the crosswalk at West Main and South Fairchild streets, chasing the cars down with lights and sirens and issuing warning tickets.
"The failure of drivers to comply with the law and stop for pedestrians has been a significant problem for Downtown," said Patrick McDonnell, a member of Madison's Downtown Coordinating Committee. "We think it's going to be very important for the future of our city to have a Downtown that's vibrant, with an active street life and a safe pedestrian experience."
Madison Police Sgt. Eric Tripke said police caught a dozen motorists ignoring the pedestrian crosswalks in the first 40 minutes of the operation. "The law says you must stop," Tripke said. "If a pedestrian has committed to crossing the street (in the crosswalk), you as a motorist must stop. We have not had very good compliance out here this morning."
Even with the new signs, Tripke said motorists "are still preoccupied or in a hurry or whatever, and they are not yielding to pedestrians." On Tuesday police were mostly issuing warnings though one motorist received a citation for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
Crosswalk markings and other pedestrian safety measures have been installed on the outer loop of Capitol Square as part of increased education and enforcement, officials said.