§ 24-17. Impeding sidewalk.  

Latest version.
  • (a)

    It shall be unlawful for a person to stand or sit on a city sidewalk so as to impede, physically or by intimidation, free and uninterrupted pedestrian passage.


    It shall be unlawful for any person to sit or lie down on a sidewalk or on a blanket, stool, or any other object placed upon a sidewalk so as to impede pedestrian passage between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. in a designated area.


    It shall be unlawful for any person to place or deposit any item of bedding materials or personal possession, including but not limited to any blanket, bag, package, or container of personal possessions on a sidewalk so as to impede pedestrian passage between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. in a designated area.


    It is an affirmative defense to any prosecution under subsection (a) or (b) that the person is:


    Sitting or lying down on a sidewalk because of a medical emergency;


    As the result of a disability, utilizing a wheelchair, walker, or similar device to move about the sidewalk;


    Operating or patronizing a commercial establishment or service or governmental function conducted on the sidewalk pursuant to a permit or authorization issued under this Code or state law;


    Participating in or attending a parade, festival, performance, rally, demonstration, meeting, or similar event lawfully conducted on the public street or a sidewalk;


    Sitting on a chair or bench located on the sidewalk that is supplied by a governmental agency or the abutting private property owner; or


    Sitting or has placed materials on a sidewalk while waiting for public or private transportation or waiting for access to enter any building.


    Prior to taking any action to enforce the provisions of this section, any law enforcement officer observing a violation of this article shall first notify the person engaged in the prohibited conduct that he or she is in violation of his article. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that any person so notified promptly ceased, within a time reasonable under the circumstances, to engage in the prohibited conduct following such notification.


    A violation of this section shall be a class C misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00). In lieu of, or in addition to the penalty provided in this section, a person in violation of this section may be required to perform community service work as described by the court.


    For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:


    Central Business District means the area North of Broadway between 19 th Street and 26 th Street as indicated on Exhibit "A" of Ord. No. 02-055 [on file at the city clerk's office] shown as beginning at the easterly right-of-way line of 19 th Street extending west to the westerly right-of-way line of 26 th Street and beginning at the southerly right-of-way line of Broadway Boulevard and extending north to the Galveston Ship Channel. Said boundaries include but are not limited to platted right-of-ways, streets, alleys, and designated easements and all abutting property along said boundary line.


    Designated area means the central business district and any area finally approved and designated by the city council if after public hearings and review of evidence substantiated by the chief of police, the council determines that the proposed area exhibits the kinds of conduct and adverse impact on use of the sidewalks and adverse impact on adjacent properties that this section was intended to address and designation of the proposed area would best serve the health, safety, and welfare of the public.


    Sidewalk means that portion of the public street that is between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines and may be improved and designated for or is ordinarily used for pedestrian travel.

(Ord. No. 97-104, § 2, 12-11-97; Ord. No. 02-055, § 3, 6-13-02)

Editor's note

Ord. No. 97-104, § 2, adopted December 11, 1997, amended the Code by adding a new § 24-9; in order to prevent the duplication of section numbers, the editor has redesignated the new provisions as § 24-17.