ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The St. Louis County Council passed a bill earlier this week that aims to change how pedestrians navigate the streets, specifically one that would make it illegal to stand, sit or walk on roadways in most cases.
Bill No. 86, recently introduced by St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas proposes the ban. After some back-and-forth discussions about the bill, the county council narrowly approved it Tuesday with a 4-3 vote.
According to the bill, pedestrians would not be allowed to stand, sit or walk on roadways when a sidewalk is present. The bill does include some exceptions for first responders, a person legally helping with a car or health emergency or person getting on and off public transportation buses.
This legislation is now on the desk of St. Louis County Executive Sam Page for consideration. It’s unclear how soon it might take effect if signed into law.
The bill also proposes, in situations when sidewalks might not be available along roadways, pedestrians must walk on the left side of the roadway with traffic approaching in the opposite direction.
Per the current St. Louis County ordinance (Section 1209.080), pedestrians are advised to walk along the roadway “when practical.” The bill would essentially make that guidance illegal, if approved.
Some municipalities in St. Louis County adopted ordinances last year addressing activities around the streets, including Brentwood, Chesterfield, Des Peres, Ellisville, and Manchester. Such ordinances were intended to crack down on panhandling in St. Louis streets.
The St. Louis County bill doesn’t specifically address panhandling. However, some advocates of homeless people around St. Louis County told FOX 2 last year that rules like what some municipalities adopted could make it tougher for those in need to survive.
If approved by Page, the St. Louis County Police Department would be the agency responsible for enforcement of the rules. A spokesperson from the department declined to comment on possible enforcement of the pending legislation with FOX 2.