Thirty caught in pedestrian sting
A Park City Police Department crosswalk sting last week resulted in 30 traffic stops, the department said, but most of the drivers yielded when they should have.
The Police Department on Friday sent an undercover officer walking across two busy stretches of road in the operation. Others officers monitored him and pulled over drivers who did not stop while he crossed. The operation was one of the most ambitious in recent years as the Police Department tries to make Park City safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and others not driving cars.
The undercover officer was stationed at the intersection of Bonanza Drive and Iron Horse Drive for two hours midday, and the Park Avenue-Homestake Road intersection for two hours in the afternoon.
According to the Police Department:
Ninety-one vehicles yielded to the undercover officer at the Bonanza Drive-Iron Horse Drive intersection. The police stopped another 15 drivers. Of those, 12 were warned and three were ticketed.
Ninety-five vehicles yielded to the officer at the Park Avenue Homestake Drive intersection. The police stopped another 15 drivers. Nine were warned and six were ticketed.
About 14 percent of the drivers did not yield, according to the Police Department numbers.
"I think it’s a step in the right direction. Obviously one time going out is not the answer to our problem," said Mike Fierro, the police officer who organized the sting and was one of five officers involved on Friday.
One officer was used as the undercover pedestrian, one videotaped the drivers and monitored their speed with a radar gun, one officer acted as a spotter and two officers riding motorcycles stopped the offending drivers.
Fierro called the operation "very successful." State health officials funded Friday’s sting with a $2,500 grant. Fierro said the Police Department plans another this summer, possibly soon after Independence Day.
Fierro said the undercover pedestrian, officer Dustin Brewer, timed his crossings so a driver could stop safely, based on a vehicle traveling 10 mph above the posted 25 mph speed limit.
"The pedestrian has the right of way. The bicyclist has the right of way," Fierro said.
The sting was scheduled as Park City starts its busy summer tourism season, when pedestrians and bicyclists descend on the city’s roads and trails. The last week was especially busy, with the International Mountain Biking Association having held a major conference in Park City June 18-21.
City Hall and activists in recent years have widened their efforts to make Park City safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, saying doing so could influence more people to walk or ride bicycles instead of driving.
Voters, meanwhile, passed a $15 million bond measure for upgrades meant for pedestrians and bicyclists. Some of the money is expected to be spent at the Bonanza Drive-Iron Horse Drive intersection, where a pedestrian-bicyclist tunnel is contemplated.
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