Transients keep returning to Avenue D roundabout
SNOHOMISH — With the construction of the Avenue D and 15th Street roundabout well underway, local drivers have experienced some confusion navigating the intersection.
Persistent panhandlers, though, have proven to be distracting to all.
The construction crew and city workers have had to shoo away panhandlers standing in the construction zone. The compact space of the zones and the barriers means panhandlers were within inches of passing cars.
With the roundabout construction, there isn’t really an area for them to stand and hold their sign, and one man in particular has become emboldened enough to hold his sign while standing on the roadway itself, on the white line indicating the bypass route. This has scared many drivers.
“Law enforcement only addresses it if there’s a complaint,” Chief John Flood said of the panhandlers at the roundabout. “We aren’t out there, actively seeking aggressive panhandlers. And a lot of what some people thinks is ‘aggressive,’ isn’t really aggressive.”
Though the city may address the issue of aggressive panhandling with an ordinance, the passive sign-holding panhandlers are by no means “aggressive” in the eyes of the law.
If they walk into traffic, though, that is considered aggressive, according to police authorities.
The intersection by Lindy’s Attic was a popular panhandling spot because cars backed up at the former four-way stop.
The roundabout’s construction is currently on-time and is progressing smoothly, a city official said.
A bypass road will be in place throughout the project’s construction. Once about 80 percent of the roundabout is done, the bypass will be taken out and traffic will be able to go through part of the roundabout.
“We’ve received, that I’ve heard, mostly positive results and feedback,” city public works director Steve Schuller said. “Very positive feedback from the Fire Department on how well it’s working for them, and positive results from the businesses, and how responsive we’ve been to their needs.”
The roundabout’s construction will continue through July.