02/25/07 8:40 PST


Benicia police will step up enforcement efforts in March and April against speeding motorists and drivers who don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

According to police, First Street merchants and their customers have complained about drivers who don't yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks at certain times of the day.

Police said they have received similar complaints at the intersections of West Second Street and Military West in front of the Benicia Fire Department and at East Second Street and Riverhill Drive. Those areas will be targeted for special enforcement and daily monitoring, according to police.

Officer issued 117 citations for failing to yield to pedestrians and other traffic violations during five operations in those areas in October and December 2005 and in April, May and October 2006, police reported.

The pedestrian decoy operation in March and April will cite drivers whose failure to stop causes a pedestrian to return to the sidewalk or stop in the middle of the crosswalk to avoid being hit, police said.

Benicia residents also complained about speeding motorists along the 700 and 800 blocks of West K Street and on Hastings Drive.

The Joe Henderson Elementary School is located on steep Hastings Drive and the 700 and 800 blocks of West K Street are in a residential area, police noted. The Benicia skateboard park also is located in that residential area, police said.

Officers intend to target speeding and stop sign violations.

"We simply want to educate and remind drivers to obey traffic laws, particularly when it comes to pedestrian safety,'' Capt. Mike Daley said. "Unfortunately, many times a traffic citation is necessary to drive the point home.''