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ODOT Takes On Panhandling Problem Across The Metro

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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is taking on the panhandling problem in certain intersections across the metro. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is taking on the panhandling problem in certain intersections across the metro.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is taking on the panhandling problem in certain intersections across the metro. Some areas can be pretty crowded, but now new signs could change that. It applies to roadways that are maintained by the state and not the city.

You’ll likely see a panhandler at any major intersections during the day. Panhandling is nothing new, but now the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is placing "state property no trespassing" signs in panhandling hotspots.

“I think it’s a good idea, because I drive the route every day, and they practically come and knock on your window,” one motorist said. “It’s distracting, and it’s very scary.”

Near I-44 and Penn it seems to be working.

At Hefner Parkway and NW Expressway people are staked out, but there's no sign restricting them.

“Normally the call can come from the city or the police, but in this case we had citizens call, as well,” ODOT Spokesperson Terri Angier said.

ODOT said this particular request has been in the works for a few months, and just recently the signs went up at I-44 and Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It’s kind of stupid,” one driver said. “Who is hurting anybody by standing over there? It doesn’t hurt me people asking for a dollar here and there.”

It is a felony for a panhandler to leave the curb and approach vehicles, but just their presence is not the only complaint.

“Trash is a major problem and especially where it gathers around the highways,” Angier said. “It’s not just unsightly; it’s unsafe, as well. It can get on a sign that somebody needs to see.”

If you would like to report a problem in your area, contact ODOT.

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