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U Of M Police Crackdown On Jaywalking

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –- Students at the University of Minnesota are learning that they’d better watch their steps.

Police are cracking down on jaywalkers and have already handed out more than 120 tickets in the last two weeks in an effort to keep students and staff safe as traffic patterns on campus change.

With the new Central Corridor light-rail line set to run right through the center of campus, new stop lights have been put up to help people get around safely, and university police have started a campaign to stop jaywalking. The campaign started three weeks ago.

During the first week, students caught jaywalking were warned. Now, they are getting tickets.

“I think it’s a good thing to enforce because it’s a safety hazard, and some people just walk out and don’t pay attention,” said freshman Holly Harrington. “But, at the same time, it’s like a $100 ticket.”

Police say the problem areas are at the crosswalks on Harvard Street and Delaware Street.

Once construction begins on Washington Avenue, Harvard Street will see a increase in traffic, and more cars and buses will be funneled through the heart of campus.

University officials said handing out tickets is their way of getting ahead of the situation before it becomes a problem.

“Now that they have put in a stop light there is more enforcement, but before that some people were kind of blatantly rude and not paying any attention to the cars that were in the intersection and trying to get places, too,” freshman Laura Hoogeveen said.

Some students say this crackdown on jaywalking has changed the way they get around campus.

“For me it’s changed the way I walk. I used to just go when there weren’t any cars. Now, I look both ways and make sure there are no cops around,” said Freshman Steven Umentum.

A university spokesperson said the citations aren’t meant to punish anyone.

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