The City of Greensboro installed new signs at busy intersections to help prevent panhandling or loitering in these areas. Advocates for the homeless say the signs are discriminatory.
Greensboro is reinforcing a safety ordinance that's been on the books.
The law prohibits standing, sitting, or lying down on the portion of a traffic island that is less than six feet wide, except when using the traffic island to cross the street or during an emergency.
The city has placed small stickers at several busy intersections, but officials say those are largely being ignored.
Twenty-nine of the diamond-shaped signs are now in place at several locations. They say “no standing or sitting anytime” and include the city's municipal ordinance number. Greensboro officials say the signs aren't targeted at panhandlers and are meant as a safety measure for drivers and pedestrians as traffic continues to grow.
"We don't want folks standing on busy intersections like this because of the safety concerns," says Chris Spencer, the transportation and engineering manager for the city. "It isn't about panhandling. If you read the ordinance it's a section that talks about obstructions, blocking traffic and other issues."
Kristina Singleton disagrees. She is the executive director of the Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro, a day resource center that serves the homeless.
“I feel like it's exclusionary signage," says Singleton. "The time and resources would be better spent on focusing on affordable housing and to me, the signage feels more about fighting the poor instead of fighting poverty in our community.”
City officials say they will monitor the sites and more will be added if needed.
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