Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Pedestrian and vehicle safety law up for public hearing, passage Wednesday

MORGANTOWN — A proposed ordinance regulating pedestrian and vehicle safety in Monongalia County will be back before the county commission for a public hearing and potential adoption on Wednesday.  

Initially presented as a countywide panhandling law, the matter first appeared as a “public hearing” on the commission’s agenda Aug. 16. 

Commission President Tom Bloom presented and spoke in favor of the bill, saying it would prohibit everyone from being in the roadway, regardless of their intention, in an effort to eliminate a safety hazard. 

About a half-dozen speakers opposed the proposal, claiming it was an unconstitutional law targeting the poor that would land the county in court. 

Representatives of the ACLU of West Virginia, Mountain State Justice and the League of Women Voters were among those to express concerns about the proposed ordinance. 

The law currently before the commission is the same in every meaningful way, save two changes. The new version makes exceptions for first responders who must perform their duties within a right-of-way, and has reduced a first offense to a warning instead of a citation. 

The ordinance includes a number of prohibitions for both pedestrians within a right-of-way and vehicle passengers that would make it illegal activity for both parties to interact and pass or exchange items. 

The ordinance would also prohibit standing, sitting or otherwise remaining within a roadway or median not wider than 10 feet for any reason other than crossing the street, and makes considerations for activity on or near roads based on vehicle speed, traffic volume and lighting conditions, among other factors. 

The draft ordinance is available at by clicking the “county ordinances” link. 

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