Here is the report from the Police Department on their efforts to stop the newspaper vendors.
We began running these details in September 2007, as a result of vendors for the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune stepping from the curbs / sidewalks and into the right-of-way causing concerns for traffic safety. Several details were conducted, since this time. Warnings, both written and verbal were issued the first weeks. This was followed by actual citations being issued, especially to those previously warned. We had the authority, but did not actually issue criminal violations, which were held valid in Pinellas Traffic Court, if a subject was previously warned to cited.
Pedestrian Statute - FSS 316.130(5): No person shall stand in the portion of a roadway paved for vehicle traffic for the purpose of soliciting. FINE: $46.50
Criminal Violation - FSS 316.2045(2): It is unlawful, without proper authorization or a lawful permit (eg: Firefighters collecting monies) for any person to willfully obstruct the normal use of any public street, highway or roadway by any means in order to solicit. Those in violation are guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.
Voluntary Compliance was our goal and officers attempted to educate the vendors, as opposed to jumping right in with the fines and citations. Officers then conducted directed patrols to monitor the intersections of E.Bay / Missouri and Seminole Blvd. / Ulmerton Rd. This was done using both marked and unmarked vehicles, and vendors found in the roadway / right-of-way were cited as mentioned above. Other areas of the city were also monitored by officers on regular patrol duties in efforts to increase safety and prevent vendor violations.
Again, both citations and warnings were issued since the start of enforcement campaign. Vendors also realized the problems they were causing, so the educational side was successful also. The enforcement is encouraged to this date by officers working Sundays on patrol. However, there are still vendors in violation, just as in any traffic enforcement effort like habitual speeding.
- Brian Browne
Return to Current Edition