Median Safety

March 11, 2008 9:45:53 PM PDT
It's the place newspapers are sold and the homeless ask for handouts and that's all become a potentially dangerous problem.Fresno City leaders want to make sure all stops on the city's traffic medians are brief and safe. Volunteers flooded the streets to hawk Kid's Day newspapers but a Fresno City Councilman thinks safety changes need to be made to avoid accidents. While Councilman Brian Calhoun isn't targeting the volunteers he still would like to put them in their place or at least a safer place.

The sight of panhandlers on Fresno street medians is all too common.

Brian Calhoun, Fresno City Councilman: "The concern I have as I see these individuals is what if they cause an accident. What if they get killed or injured."

Fresno City Councilman Brian Calhoun wants to put an end to the practice of people aggressively soliciting donations on street medians.

Henry T. Perea, Fresno City Councilman: "Would this apply to say for example like, Kids Day? Or fill the boot that the firefighters do when they're raising money for the hospital?"

"It's basically dangerous and I have seen in both those instances where they run off the island and into the middle of the street to catch people in between lanes. So I have to be honest with you yes."

Kid's Day volunteers like dancing Nancy Reynoso are told to stay on street corners but that doesn't keep them from setting up in the median.

Nancy Reynoso, Fresno State Senior: "I really like the middle because that's where I can be right by them. Give them the guilty eye and they may want to buy it. You don't feel it's a safety issue? If I don't cross it's okay."

Jerry Duncan, Fresno City Councilman: "Yeah people are pretty risky sometimes when they go out and sell papers but there are warnings are out there and we can't protect everyone from everything so I think it's premature to do anything about it right now."

We found this group standing in the middle of Ventura Street directing motorists to a car wash. Diego Jimenez darted through traffic, trying to raise money for a friend's funeral.

Diego Jimenez, Fresno: "No it's not safe. I'm just doing it to get an extra dollar for the family. it's not safe but you gotta take chances to get more money. Some people aren't just gonna come over here."

"Every time somebody stops, slows down, reaches out a window, it plays havoc with the cars behind the car that stops."

The City Council did not vote on the issue. Discussion will resume in two weeks to see if an amendment is needed. Currently it is illegal to sell items such as roses on medians but the ordinance does not include the solicitation of donations.


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