Here's some more information on the concerted efforts to ban pedestrians from the "public" streets by imposing fines for jaywalking:
"...One key turning point, according to Norton, came in 1923 in Cincinnati. Citizens’ anger over pedestrian deaths gave rise to a referendum drive. It gathered some 7,000 signatures in support of a rule that would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour.
Local auto clubs and dealers recognized that cars would be a lot harder to sell if there was a cap on their speed. So they went into overdrive in their campaign against the initiative. They sent letters to every individual with a car in the city, saying that the rule would condemn the U.S. to the fate of China, which they painted as the world’s most backward nation. They even hired pretty women to invite men to head to the polls and vote against the rule. And the measure failed.
They also got Detroit involved. The automakers banded together to help fight the Cincinnati rule, according to Norton. “And they remained organized after that,” he says.
The industry lobbied to change the law, promoting the adoption of traffic statutes to supplant common law. The statutes were designed to restrict pedestrian use of the street and give primacy to cars. The idea of "jaywalking” – a concept that had not really existed prior to 1920 – was enshrined in law.
The current configuration of the American street, and the rules that govern it, are not the result of some inevitable organic process. "It’s more like a brawl," says Norton. "Where the strongest brawler wins"...
By Sarah Goodyear, from http://www.theatlanticcities.com/com...ywalking/1837/