Also hears reports about Streetcar and Draper Lake Trails progress
The City of Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously to modify the controversial panhandling ordinance passed December 2015.
The changed ordinance allows for activities such as collecting money on medians if the speed limit on the street where the activity is taking place is below 40 mph.
The previous version that drew criticism was based on the width of the median and distance from the intersection.
Critics have suggested that this modification was prompted by a federal lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. The suit could land in the U.S. Supreme Court.
American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Oklahoma City over the matter December 2016. That case is titled McGraw v. City of Oklahoma City.
Assistant Municipal Counselor Amanda Carpenter has insisted in council and to Free Press the modification is only about safety of those who choose to be near traffic for any reason.
The modifications included clarified exceptions to the ordinance.
Exceptions are, “… individuals using crosswalks or safety zones, government officers, employees, or contractors, certain persons doing authorized work, and individuals responding to emergency situations …. ”
Use of colored dust for events like “color runs” and other celebrations where the dust is thrown in the air and on participants could be banned if a new ordinance is adopted at the Nov. 21 council meeting. The public hearing on the proposal was at Tuesday’s Council meeting.
Language in the resolution acknowledges the popularity of such events, but argues the liabilities are significant.
They can cause eye or lung irritation for some participants and spectators. “Color runs” also leave behind considerable powder residue that is costly to remove and can pollute waterways or other park areas. In addition, some colored powders used in these events are reportedly flammable under certain conditions.
Use of the colored powders would be banned in City parks, lake reservations, North Canadian/Oklahoma River Corridor, city streets or sidewalks.
Jason Ferbrache, director for Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, gave the council an update on progress of the new streetcar lines being constructed in the center of the metro.
Opening of the streetcar system is 14 months away according to the current plan.
Electric power wires will be over only about 60 percent of the two lines being constructed. Streetcars will run on battery power on the other 40 percent of the A and B routes.
A company with experience operating streetcar lines in other cities will be used for the streetcar lines since COTPA has no experience operating them. Herzog Transit Services, Inc. will have the contract to provide management, supervisor, operators and mechanics.
Special attention is being given to accessibility in all aspects of the streetcar system as well as providing accommodations for bikes and riders to use the system.
COTPA will sell separate passes for either busses or streetcars as well as a universal pass for both types of transit.
Schemes for the layout of new 13.5-mile system of walking, running, biking trails around Lake Stanley Draper on the southwest corner of the metro were presented to the Council Tuesday.
Two firms have been designing the trails for ease of use and safety when intersecting with auto traffic in the area.
Here are the layouts for the trails:11-7-17 M3-T003 Draper Trail Improvements - City Council
11-7-17 M3-T003B Draper Trail Improvements - City Council