Ordinance could ban panhandling in parts of Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ordinance could ban panhandling in parts of Cedar Rapids

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Cedar Rapids is looking at ways to make roads and pedestrians safer with an ordinance that prevents panhandling in certain areas. 

Police in Cedar Rapids say a woman who was hit by a car on Collins Road last month was panhandling. 

The ordinance points out certain intersections where panhandling is common as well as high traffic volumes. 

"Do not do this, this is cruel, it's a sham," said one woman who spoke out against the ordinance in today's meeting. 

Four people spoke up during the public hearing portion of the meeting and they were all against the ordinance. 
The police department says it's a safety concern  to have people in medians. 

"They are designed to separate traffic," says Steve O'Konek with the department. 
City council members agreed, Scott Olson pointing out there are other options for those in need. 
 "There's 50 agencies in this community that deal with the homeless, the veterans, those people in need as described here and all of those agencies supported our effort that we needed to do something because the worst thing a person could do is to panhandle," he says. 

We caught up with Gary Clemons as he was panhandling on Blairs Ferry Road this afternoon. 
  "And that's what I tell people out here when they tell me to get a job, I say this is my job, you guys need to get a job and then you wouldn't be coming by hear hollering at us telling us to get a job," he told us. 

Today the first reading of the ordinance was passed unanimously. 

There will be two more readings before it becomes official. 
If passed, there will be signs put out at the intersections that say "No Pedestrians."

Breaking the rules would be a Simple Misdemeanor punished by up to 30 days in jail or a $65 fine. 

Intersections included in the ordinance are:

Collins Road NE at Center Point Road NE

Blairs Ferry Road NE at I-380

H Avenue NE at I-380

Wilson Avenue SW at I-380

29th Street NE at I-380

32nd Street Ne at I-380

33rd Avenue SW at I-380 

To read the ordinance for yourself visit: http://www.cedar-rapids.org/CityCouncil/2017/2017-07-11_Packet.pdf


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