Proposal to Keep Fresno Medians "People Free"

FRESNO, Calif.                   |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

City officials are concerned about people standing, sitting or lying in the center median among so many vehicles.

Sitting at almost any stoplight in North Fresno you're bound to see someone standing in the median. Some drivers say it's a problem.

City Councilman Larry Westerlund took photos over the course of six months -- some show high school students advertising a carwash -- Others, a street performer playing a violin for money.

Westerlund said he's asking the city council to pass an ordinance to only allow people in the median if they have a permit.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said activity in the middle of the road has increased over the years and for him it's an issue of safety.

If the ordinance passes police officers can issue misdemeanor tickets or even arrest those in the median without a permit.

The ordinance allows permits for individuals and special events like Kids Day. State law still allows firefighters to solicit donations from medians. Bill Simon with the American Civil Liberties Union said the law is unfair.

Simon said Fresno's homeless will suffer because they are being displaced throughout the city and this proposal will prevent them from raising money.

A few years ago city council failed to pass a law that would have stopped everyone from fundraising in medians.

The new ordinance will be introduced to city council on Thursday. If it passes it goes into effect 60 days after the vote.

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