Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cinco De Mayo 2014 on the Streets of Downtown San Jose

It was the evening of Cinco de Mayo in 2014, and I finally got tired of doing all of my assignments and needed to take a break. I decided to test my walking skills for a couple of hours - most of which occured on the intersection of Fourth and Santa Clara Streets in downtown San Jose. San Jose Police Department (SJPD), the San Jose State University Police Department (UPD), and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) was out all night looking for bad behavior on the streets of downtown San Jose and in East San Jose, where the trouble spots were last year. I'm only an ordinary pedestrian at that time, not an actual decoy of any department.

My mission for the next couple of hours was to test my safety on the crosswalks and find out if anyone is abiding by the rules of the road, according to the driver's handbook. This was not the first time that I had tested my crosswalk safety. I had some incidents on Bay Area roadways that I nearly got hit by an incoming car who either ran red lights or failed to stop for a pedestrian as required by law.

The first time that I encountered a police cruiser while was in Albany, on the intersection of San Pablo Avenue and Castro Street, which that was when I decided to test my pedestrian safety. One of the cars while I attempted to cross the street failed to stop and was only three feet from hitting me, which led to a surprise stop by the officer who was observing me crossing the street.

But in downtown San Jose, I noted that multiple cruisers were on the scene that came from more than one police department. SJPD had made numerous stops on cars along Santa Clara Street from First to Tenth Streets, as most of the stops were for various violations. While still on the same intersection testing my pedestrian skills, I noticed that one of the drivers never having their lights on at night in which that driver was heading westbound on Santa Clara Street, which the CHP caught up instantly. Among all of my pedestrian tests, at least two drivers failed to yield to me attempting to cross the street while the "walking" pedestrian signal was on. The most notable of them all was when a gray Audi failed to stop at the signal and was only inches from hitting me.

The night overall was a lot nicer than last year despite the loud music from many cars and trucks and holding Mexican flags on Cinco de Mayo. 

SJPD and the CHP were not the only ones that were out there looking for dangerous drivers. I also saw at least two UPD cruisers as they were also brought in to help crack down on dangerous drivers. By the end of the night, at least one of the UPD officers did wave at me in part because the other UPD officer may also have spotted me. I'll be surprised if the two officers do contact me, as I personally do want to thank them for protecting the streets near the main SJSU campus that night.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak
E-mail: chak595301@gmail.com