New ordinance would prohibit begging in traffic

“Wash your windshield for a dollar?” and other begging from St. Augustine sidewalks, where pedestrians today walk up to cars stopped at traffic lights or in motion, could be one step closer to becoming a violation of city ordinance after the regular meeting of the City Commission Monday night.

Coming on the agenda for a first reading, is consideration of Ordinance 2011-27, amending Section 18-56 of the Code of the City of St. Augustine; a proposed ordinance from the City Attorney’s office relevant to obstructing traffic and public safety issues associated with distracted driving.

There will be no public hearing on this proposed ordinance Monday.

As laid out in the proposed ordinance, the city finds that a pedestrian approaching a vehicle engaged in traffic on a city street:

• may cause the occupant of the vehicle justifiable and reasonable alarm because the occupant of the vehicle cannot readily escape from the undesired contact or communication

• may create a distraction to the driver of the vehicle or cause the driver to attempt to evade or avoid the pedestrian

• may cause traffic accidents or injury to occupants of the vehicle, to the approaching pedestrian or to others occupying the public street

• may distract bystanders and other motorists witnessing the pedestrian’s approach or the driver’s reaction

• constitutes conduct that is a threat to the health, welfare and safety of the public.

If approved, the proposed ordinance will move on to a second reading and public hearing during the next available city commission meeting.

If you are planning to attend — the regular St. Augustine City Commission meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. Monday and will be held in the Alcazar Room; on the first floor of City Hall, located at 75 King Street in St. Augustine. It will be broadcast live on Comcast Government TV (Cable Channel 3) and is streamed over the Internet.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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