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City to revisit fines for people who block sidewalks

A couple in Vancouver, Canada walks past two homeless people on the sidewalk.
Adam Jones
Wikimedia Commons
A couple in Vancouver, Canada walks past two homeless people on the sidewalk.

An ordinance update that would allow the city to fine people who obstruct sidewalks or other public paths is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday by Tulsa's City Council.

The newest version of the proposal would see offenders owing up to $100 excluding fees for blocking without a permit "any street, alley, crosswalk, sidewalk, driveway or trail" in the public sphere used by pedestrians, bicycles or vehicles.

Previous versions of the amendment included jail time and higher penalties, but those have been edited out since Mayor G.T. Bynum first introduced the measure in 2022. Bynum said he was acting at the request of Police Chief Wendell Franklin so that officers could have more options when dealing with public camping.

The amendment was scheduled for a council vote last week, but action was postponed so that language could be updated.

Editor's note: A broadcast version of this story incorrectly stated that the ordinance amendment in question had passed. We regret the error.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.