A frustrated group of citizens in Tacoma, Wash., is putting down “rogue crosswalks” as concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety have intensified. Now the city says it plans to prosecute anyone caught making a rogue crosswalk.
The group, Citizens for a Safer Tacoma, has painted five rogue crosswalks and said it will break the law if that means saving lives. The group said at least 15 members have been hit by cars. When they asked the city for help, the anonymous group members said they were turned away.
Back in May, the group painted a crosswalk at a large intersection on St. Helens Avenue overnight. Just two weeks later, the city had workers grind the crosswalk out of the pavement.
While the city said it wants to address concerns about crosswalks, the holdup comes down to money. The city spends up to $1,000 to remove the illegal crosswalks and it would have cost the city about $1,000 to put a legal crosswalk there itself.
Businesses in the area said the vigilante crosswalk painters are demonstrating the frustration everyone feels with the city.
“We have a lot of cars just blowing through here, and we’re concerned,” said Morgan Alexander, owner of the Amocat Café new the St. Helens intersection, to The News Tribune in May. “We actually asked the city to take some action. But they really haven’t done anything.”
An unidentified spokesperson for Citizens for a Safer Tacoma told King 5, “if the city does nothing, we will. None of us want to go to jail, but we’re more dedicated to the safety of citizens than we are to the law.”
Interim Public Works director, Kurtis Kingsolver, said the group is not even installing proper crosswalks.
“They’re different colors, some of them were circles, they weren’t really a crosswalk,” Kingsolver said.
“We’re not asking for major infrastructure changes, all we’re asking for is a little bit of paint,” said the group’s spokesman.