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Springville, Utah, implements ordinance to limit driver, panhandler interactions

courtesy Springville City on Facebook

Springville in Utah County has implemented a new ordinance that restricts the transfer of money or goods at intersections within city limits. The city says the reason is to ease traffic congestion due rapid growth. However, there are those that feel it singles out the less fortunate.

The ordinance restricts drivers from giving pedestrians money while operating in a roadway or near a highway exit.

"We've been having real traffic issues, safety concerns on certain roads, main roads coming in and out of the city," said Patrick Monney, director of administrative services.

Springville has grown 19% over the last decade with a current estimated population of 36,135 according to 2021 U.S Census data. The city also serves drivers coming from the neighboring city of Mapleton, which has grown by 49% in 10 years to an estimated population of 12,414.

"We're not trying to neglect anybody of their needs, but we're just trying to protect people," Monney said.

Resident Kristin Smith has seen people panhandling in the middle of the road and agrees that is pushing the limits of safety. She hopes the ordinance was not implemented to criminalize those down on their luck.

"There's really no way to know if that's the case, you know, watching carefully if cops are citing this ordinance, outside of the bounds of the ordinance. Or even I'd say if you see the firemen out there with the bill collecting money in the middle of the street, I have a problem with that too," Smith said.

The city will issue warnings for now, but Monney said fines could be as high as $750. For those who feel inclined to give, he said motorists can pull off of the roadway into an appropriate parking space.

Curtis Booker is KUER’s growth, wealth and poverty reporter in Central Utah.
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