Hot Springs Ordinance Enacted to Protect Pedestrians & Vehicles, Not Target Panhandlers

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- A new ordinance in Hot Springs will prohibit pedestrians from having any interaction with the cars that are in the streets. 

Almost every day, Hunter Arnold, who lives in Hot Springs, says he sees people standing in the median at Malvern and Grand, talking to people in cars.  The problem is they don't stay in the median.

"They go in the street," says Arnold.

It's a safety issue he says needs to be addressed.

Hot Springs City Attorney, Brian Albright says the new ordinance will do just that.   It's designed to protect pedestrians and motorists when they're interacting according to the rules of the road.

"People on foot and people in cars don't mix," says Albright.

The goal is to cut down on injury and fatality accidents involving pedestrians, not to regulate any messages people are trying to communicate.

"They're still allowed to express themselves and exercise their first amendment rights by being on the sidewalk and the curb, not in the street right of way itself," says Albright.

Hot Springs repealed an ordinance that was on the books that dealt with solicitation and distribution of materials.   The ACLU threatened a lawsuit, saying it unfairly targeted panhandlers and violated the first amendment.

Albright says this one is different and he's optimistic it will serve it's purpose. 

The ordinance will take effect on Monday January 8, 2018.


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