AMERICAN FORK -- American Fork can't ban panhandling outright, but it's trying to make it as uncomfortable as possible for people to ask for money at a busy intersection.
The city installed concrete barriers over the weekend at 900 West and State Street, according to KSL. The short walls leave virtually no standing room on thin roadside medians, and have the message "no standing or sitting" spray painted on the side.
"Citizens don't like being stuck at a light and have someone approach them," said city administrator Craig Whitehead. "They have had some very aggressive ones who have come up and looked in the window."
The move came a few days after city officials issued a memo titled "Guide to Handling Panhandlers." It discouraged residents from giving money to people on the street and suggested they donate to charities instead.
City officials noted they can't outlaw panhandling because people have a right to make solicitations. But they have said they banned "aggressive solicitation" involving physical contact, blocking walkways, or using obscene or abusive language.
Some residents told KSL their community is generous and feeds the problem. They said blockades may be the only way to prevent panhandling on medians.
"I think it is brilliant," said American Fork resident Jeneil Morrill. "I think it is about time, and I don't think there is any other way to do it, except to give them no place to stand, no place to be."