While most of us have become accustomed to the sight of folks standing in the medians or along the roads in many spots in Eastern Maine, the City of Bangor voted this week to amend to one of it's ordinances, making loitering in certain spots within the city, illegal.

The City's Loitering Ordinance states that it's illegal to:

"Obstruct any public street, public highway, public sidewalk or any other public place or building or hinder or impede the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles, traffic or pedestrians."

And it defines 'loitering' as: 'Remaining idle in essentially one location, and shall include the concept of spending time idly, to be dilatory, to linger, to stay, to saunter, to delay and to stand around and shall also include the colloquial expression 'hanging around.'"

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According to City Officials, the aim of the amendment to the ordinance was not to limit free speech, as opponents such as the ACLU argued, rather to address safety concerns folks had to do with traffic in and out of a handful of very specific areas.

"This Ordinance amendment would revise the City’s Loitering Ordinance to prohibit loitering on narrow medians (less than six-feet wide) in high-volume or high-speed traffic areas, to protect both those on the medians and the drivers and passengers in vehicles passing by. Under the current ordinance, loitering that impedes public streets or the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles is not permitted. Loitering on narrow medians in high-volume or high-speed traffic areas is an obvious danger to both those on the narrow medians and those in vehicles driving past. "

The areas of concerns which were cited include medians in the following locations:

"Odlin Rd./I-395; Griffin Road/Union St.; Hogan Rd./I-95 Southbound On Ramp - On Northbound Approach of Hogan Road; Hogan Rd./Bangor Mall Blvd. – Hogan Road Northbound approach median; Union St./Godfrey Blvd. – median on Godfrey; Stillwater Ave./Walmart driveway – portion of driveway median inside City right-of-way); Stillwater Ave./The Avenue driveway – median on Stillwater; Stillwater Ave./Parkade driveway – median on Stillwater; and Stillwater Ave./Hobby Lobby driveway – portion inside City right-of-way. Most of these locations are designated as current High Crash Locations (HCL’s) by the State of Maine’s Dept. of Transportation or have been designated as HCL’s in the past."

Police will have the green light to start enforcing the amended ordinance in early July.

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