St. Elizabeth Hospital staff angered over jaywalking enforcement

APPLETON, Wi. (WBAY) - One small sign “no crossing” road sign, means a big inconvenience to some Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital employees.

“Around the city of Appleton we have several crosswalks that have been issues where we’ve had people that have been injured, and we want to prevent that as much as we can,” said Appleton Police Public Information Officer Meghan Cash.

Cash says during construction in the area the past couple years the city noticed that several people would cross Oneida St. directly from the hospital’s employee lot to the emergency room entrance.

“Our captain had reviewed some footage just to see how many people were crossing and he said there was an estimated 41 people crossing not in those crosswalks,” said Cash. “So that was even more for us to understand that this was an even bigger problem than we realized.”

The city says hospital employee’s safest option is to either cross at the intersection of Seymour St. and Oneida St. or to use the Fremont St. and Oneida St. intersection, both of which sit at either end of the block.
But some hospital employees argue that it’s too far from the hospital.

Employees weren’t willing to go on-camera, but one argued that sometimes they are called in for emergency situations and want to respond as quickly as possible instead of walking around. Others said the situation is ridiculous.

But employees who don’t take the proper paths could be cited for jaywalking, which costs about $175.

“It’s not meant at all to punish people for crossing there, it’s just the education piece,” said Cash. “So that’s where some information was put out to employees prior to any law enforcement action occurring.”

A hospital representative met with the city planning committee before construction began to ask for a crosswalk to be put in between the hospital and employee lot, but was denied.

“Ultimately the decision was made, crosswalks are expensive to put in when designing those roads, and a lot of it is just a safety aspect,” said Cash.

Cash says she understands people not liking the change, but with increased traffic coming at high speeds she says it’s a change that will prevent injury.

“We don’t want to ticket people, that’s not our intention at all. We just want to keep people safe,” said Cash.

Some employees have begun a petition to create a crosswalk between their parking lot and the hospital.