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Pedestrians On Cell Phones Could Be Fined In Reno

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Reno wants to put some teeth into its fight against the rise in pedestrian deaths it has seen in the last year.

In 2016, 16 pedestrians died after being struck by vehicles in Washoe County.

The Reno City Council will consider an ordinance that would ban people from looking down into their cell phones while crossing the street.

Deputy City Attorney Brian Sooudi said laws already exist governing drivers. But last New Year's Eve, a pedestrian was killed while crossing a highway and texting at the same time.

”When you’re trying to cross a highway or street, you need to be paying attention, you need to be looking up, looking at vehicles and not looking down on your cell phone," Sooudi.

Reno's proposed ordinance is similar to one enacted July 1 in Honolulu. He said it was too early to tell if that law was working to reduce pedestrian-traffic deaths there.

Another proposal would prevent anyone from standing on a median in the middle of the road, Sooudi said, unless someone happens to get stuck there while walking across the street.

As Reno tries to bring more development into its downtown, Sooudi said there are also proposals to move what's become a frequent homeless encampment in the center of the downtown district.

It's known as the ReTrac area, and is adjacent to the well-known "Biggest Little City In The World" archway sign. The large concrete clearing is one that businesses and the city want to use for concerts and other events.

Support comes from

Sooudi said homeless people use the area to congregate and camp. The ordinance being proposed would prevent anyone from sitting or lying down in the area unless allowed during a special event.

Sooudi, who grew up in Las Vegas, said the ordinance he drafted is similar to one that governs the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

The Reno City Council will consider the proposals in October, he added.

 

Guests

Brian Sooudi, deputy city attorney, Reno

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