No Ped Mall Citations

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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Despite a more than one-month period after the implementation of an ordinance aimed at regulating the Pedestrian Mall, Iowa City police officer David Schwindt said the department has yet to issue a single related citation. 

The storage of personal property downtown, lying on planters, lying on benches from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., use of public electrical outlets, and soliciting at parking meters and Ped Mall entrances is prohibited under a new ordinance that went into effect Sept. 17.

Schwindt was appointed to the downtown beat position earlier this year and has since worked to phase in a number of initiatives while serving as an outreach to the downtown community and area residents.

Prior to the ordinance, Schwindt noted that he would receive between 15 and 20 individual complaints — specifically screaming and profanity — by the downtown demographic. Now, he said, those grievances have all but been reduced to zero.

“I think the ordinance seeks to solve a problem which is the clustering of people engaged in certain behaviors that other people don’t like,” Iowa City City Councilor Jim Throgmorton said.

The notion of “whitewashing,” or pushing out the downtown people altogether, Schwindt said, has thankfully not come to pass. Instead, he said, he has been able to establish relationships with a number of the people.

Following the passing of the ordinance, both officials said that they have noticed a decline in the number of people congregating around the Ped Mall entrance at the intersection of Washington and Dubuque Streets.

“It was nice to know that there wasn’t a feeling of hardship,” Schwindt said.

— by Greta Meyle

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