So this was the sign taped by the cash registers at Casel's Supermarket in Margate last night when I went on an emergency run for CocoPuffs and cheesesticks (what the heck, it made my 13 year old happy). Seems that a Casels supervisor got ticketed as she crossed Ventnor Ave in front of Casel's, starting at a crosswalk abut veering off in a Ventnorly direction to reach the other side of the street about mid-block. Unluckily for her, an ever-vigilant Margate police officer was watching and gave her a $54 ($54!) ticket for .... jaywalking. Which led Casels to post warnings up at ever cash register. Because, please, if everyone who crossed from Starbucks to Paper Chase in the middle of the block, or Knit Wit diagonal to the front of Casels, got ticketed, wheee, there'd be enough money to keep those three schools in Margate open after all. I have a call into Chief Wolfson over at police HQ (UPDATE, SEE BELOW) to see whether this represents a new chapter in shore police ticketing trials. I'm guessing since they have begun cracking down on cars who don't stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, they figure they have to enforce the pedestrian codes as well. Because if cars are stopping for pedestrians walking in the middle of this block, nobody will ever get to Downbeach Liquors on the corner. This intersection, Frontenac and Ventnor, is a comically chaotic one during summer time, but I have to say, most of the shenanigans are from cars waiting to park, waiting to make the left in front of Casels and waiting to make the ubiquitous U-turn that visitors to our Jersey Shore love to make. Seems a bit piling on to start ticketing the poor pedestrians among us. But, Casel's customers, you've been warned.
UPDATE: Sure enough, Chief David Wolfson said the jaywalking sting was part of the whole crosswalks initiative brought about by a new state law that toughens the rules requiring cars to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, a law Wolfson thinks is confusing and potentially dangerous. "Our philosophy is jaywalkers are just as bad as the people not stopping at intersections," Wolfson said. "How do you ticket someone who doesn't stop at a crosswalk and then not ticket someone walking across in the middle of the street?" Yesterday was the start of a summer long crackdown on jaywalkers, Wolfson said, so Margate beach goers be forewarned. Hue to the crosswalks. Unfortunately for Wolfson, in the claustrophic reality that is Margate politics, the first jaywalking victim was an employee of mighty Casel's, a woman who's been crossing that way for 17 years. Needless to say, Casels owner Howard Seiden was not too happy with his buddy David Wolfson after that one and may or may not have given him an earful. "I've got to rethink this whole thing now," Wolfson said. "It's a no win situation for me. I need to find the balance."