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Navigator: The Etymology of Jaywalking

Screen still from “The Street Project”

Screen still from “The Street Project”

Photo credit: Boyd Productions

Welcome to today's edition of Navigator, CityLab’s biweekly Saturday newsletter.

Not long after cars replaced the horse and buggy and started encroaching on city streets, pedestrians started getting blamed for being in the way. The term “jaywalking” — now synonymous with the criminalized act of being in a road outside of a crosswalk — was conjured up in the 1920s by automobile clubs and car manufacturers to solidify a burgeoning cultural understanding that roads were for cars, not people.