Longmont to start enforcing median ban

LONGMONT, Colo. -- Workers with the city of Longmont started to install signs late Sunday night through early Monday morning to alert people that they are forbidden from standing on certain medians.

The city said it's focused on nine intersections that are dangerous for pedestrians and drivers.

The city chose those medians because of their size, the number of crashes in the area and the speed limit. The city said the ban is not meant to discriminate against panhandlers, but instead it's trying to increase safety.

The city said pedestrian crashes have increased in the past two years, with 36 hit since 2015.

Panhandlers such as Alan Galpert and Kent Seibold said they understand the city's concerns.

"I think if it's a matter of safety, and they aren't doing it completely around town for everywhere, then it's not a big deal," Galpert said.

"If someone is out there without reflective clothing, it is a safety issue for them," Seibold said.

In 2015, the U.S. District Court of Colorado struck down a panhandling law, citing it violated constitutionally protected speech.

In turn, Longmont stopped enforcing two ordinances. One banned aggressive begging and the other outlawed soliciting in or near a street or highway.

David Montegomery said the city's latest ban on standing in medians disproportionately discriminates against homeless people. He also said the ban comes at high costs to panhandlers.

"There is very few spots on the side of the road for people to easily access you and so it's actually going to run me out of town," Montegomery said.

There are some exceptions to the median ban.

Law enforcement officers are allowed if they are doing a job while on duty. City and utility workers can be granted permission if they're working on a project .

Also, a pedestrian is allowed if utilizing a median as a refuge for one traffic signal cycle because they were not able to safely cross the entire roadway during the traffic signal pedestrian phase or green light.

Those caught standing on one of the banned medians can face up to a $500 fine or up to 90 days in jail.

There are nine medians where pedestrians are banned.

  • Ken Pratt Boulevard and Martin Street. West and east legs along Ken Pratt Boulevard.
  • Ken Pratt Boulevard and Emery Street. West and east legs along Ken Pratt Boulevard.
  • Ken Pratt Boulevard and Main Street. West and east legs along Ken Pratt Boulevard.
  • Ken Pratt Boulevard and South Pratt Parkway. West and east legs along Ken Pratt Boulevard. North leg along South Pratt Parkway.
  • Ken Pratt Boulevard and Hover Street. West and east legs along Ken Pratt Boulevard. North leg along Hover Street.
  • State Highway 66 and Main Street. West leg along State Highway 66. South leg along Main Street.
  • Hover Street and Nelson Road. West leg along Nelson Road.
  • Hover Street and Clover Basin Drive. North and south legs along Hover Street.
  • Hover Street and Bent Way. North and south legs along Hover Street.