Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Begging, vending ban coming to 20 Broward intersecti­ons

- By Brittany Wallman Staff writer

Twenty of the busiest intersecti­ons in Broward County will soon be off-limits to peddlers and beggars.

Broward County commission­ers will decide Tuesday whether to join the chorus of those who want drivers to no longer be hit up for cash by someone whose cardboard sign says he is hungry, no longer asked to drop bills into a fireman’s boot, no longer offered a bouquet of roses for $10.

If five of nine county commission­ers say yes, soliciting will be illegal at the 20 high-volume intersecti­ons, from Griffin Road to State Road 84 to Broward and Sunrise boulevards.

At these crammed intersecti­ons, some 770 car crashes have ruined drivers’ days, or lives, in the past three years, according to

the county. And every day, 1.2 million cars pass through them.

Broward Mayor Tim Ryan said the ban “promotes safety on the roadway,” while still leaving smaller intersecti­ons for vendors or the poor to exercise their First Amendment rights.

“These intersecti­ons … [have] got like six lanes and two or three turn lanes. There’s a lot of traffic moving in different sequences,’’ he said. “People need to be paying attention to what’s happening.”

Broward’s jam-packed intersecti­ons have drawn the financiall­y desperate for years, the medians a staging ground for their daily pleas, or the occasional guitar performanc­e.

But the available spots are slowly disappeari­ng. Cities have one by one outlawed roadside panhandlin­g or charity fundraisin­g, or used existing state law to arrest opportunis­ts stepping into traffic to approach drivers sitting captive at red lights.

Among those in Broward who’ve curtailed such road- side requests: Weston, Cooper City, Hollywood, Margate, Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale. Tamarac is mulling regulation­s now.

All have been careful to justify the crackdown in terms of public safety, crafting limited bans at specific intersecti­ons, lest a judge say they’re violating solicitors’ rights.

Broward’s proposed law applies to those acting on behalf of a charity, a business or just to fill their own empty pockets. They may not sell or offer something for sale, seek a job, ask for money or hand anything to a driver, whether they ask for payment or not.

There is one exception: The law would not prevent an officer from handing a driver a traffic citation, it says.

The ban is needed, the draft law says, because ven- dors “pose a danger to themselves and the public at large, by interferin­g with the safe, efficient and orderly movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic at such intersecti­ons.’’

Though there have been no pedestrian deaths in the past three years at the 20 intersecti­ons, county officials note that, in general, roads are not a safe place for people on foot. Statewide, 2,075 pedestrian­s were killed in car accidents in the past four years. Of those, 197 were killed on Broward County’s roads.

The intersecti­ons, ranked by traffic volume (all are at least partly in unincorpor­ated Broward County):

State Road 84 at University Drive

Flamingo Road at State Road 84

Sunrise Boulevard at Northwest 31st Avenue

Sunrise Boulevard at Northwest 27th Avenue:

Sunrise Boulevard at Northwest 24th Avenue

State Road 7 at Southwest 20th Street

State Road 84 at Davie Road

State Road 84 at Southwest 136th Avenue

Broward Boulevard at Southwest 27th Avenue

State Road 7 at Davie Boulevard

Broward Boulevard at Northwest 31st Avenue

State Road 84 at Nob Hill Road

Federal Highway at Griffin Road

Davie Boulevard/Davie Boulevard Extension at Peters Road:

Peters Road at Northwest 46th Avenue

Coconut Creek Parkway/ Hammondvil­le Road at Northwest 31st Avenue

State Road 84 at Hiatus Road

Northwest 31st Avenue at Northwest Sixth Street

Northwest 27th Avenue at Northwest Sixth Street

The new law would be policed by Broward Sheriff ’s Office deputies, and violators would be set back by a fine of up to $500.

bwallman@tribpub.com or 954-356-4541

 ??  ?? This man panhandlin­g on University Drive and State Road 84 may soon be breaking the law.
This man panhandlin­g on University Drive and State Road 84 may soon be breaking the law.
 ?? PHOTOS BY TAIMY ALVAREZ/STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? The fine for panhandlin­g at some of Broward’s intersecti­ons would be up to $500.
PHOTOS BY TAIMY ALVAREZ/STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER The fine for panhandlin­g at some of Broward’s intersecti­ons would be up to $500.

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