Omaha city council approves median ordinance

Posted at 2:38 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 19:50:13-04

The Omaha City Council approved the median ordinance, which would prevent panhandlers from standing on the median on a high-traffic roads in the city. 

The ordinance applies to medians within 200 feet of high traffic intersections with posted speed limits of 30 mph for higher. The city will post a sign explaining the ordinance on each intersection where public works deems a need. 

The city council voted 6-1 on the measure. 

"This will be enforced in a reasonable fashion for those that may be in the median," said Councilman Pete Festerson. 

The ordiance will be enforced by warnings or citations, but the penalties could increase if violators continue to occupy the medians. 

"If they continue to refuse to follow the law, we'll then we have to you can't excuse people  from our laws based upon their economics, this isn't a tool where we are looking at officers to go around arresting people," said Councilwoman Aimee Melton.

"The ordinance addresses public safety and the risk to everyone who uses our city streets," mayor Jean Stothert said. "The Public Works Department already evaluates all intersections for safety and publishes a list each year of the most dangerous intersections. We will use this list to determine which locations meet the criteria established by the ordinance."