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City updates right-of-way ordinance to include lying in walkways

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.

Tulsa City Council has updated the city's right-of-way ordinance to penalize people who block sidewalks.

Councilors on Wednesday night unanimously approved an ordinance that allows the city to issue up to a $100 fine excluding fees to people lying in the way of pedestrian traffic. The ordinance also applies to people who leave large items in a walkway without a permit.

Before its passage, Councilor Phil Lakin said the ordinance applies to people who obstruct in such a way that forces pedestrians off a walking path.

Officials edited out jail time and higher penalties from previous versions of the amendment. Mayor G.T. Bynum said he introduced the amendment at the request of Police Chief Wendell Franklin, who wanted to give his officers more options when addressing public camping.

Lakin and council President Jeannie Cue said they trust Tulsa police to work with the people violating the ordinance before writing a ticket.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.