The City of Tempe and Downtown Tempe Authority is warning downtown patrons about the passage of a new sidewalk ordinance aimed at the homeless before and after it takes effect May 14.
The Tempe City Council last week passed an ordinance to restrict sitting or lying on public sidewalks downtown during specified times and days. According to the City, the intent is to instead ask all downtown visitors to use provided benches and planter boxes to rest.
The ordinance prohibits sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks or medians between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 7 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is modeled after a similar ordinance that had been in place from 1999 to 2014.
The ordinance requires a warning before citation by Tempe Police. Citations are expected to be rare, as they were in the past. There are exceptions to the ordinance, such as for medical emergencies, parades or permitted demonstrations.
Tempe’s homeless outreach team, Tempe Police downtown bike officers and the Downtown Tempe Authority’s safety patrol will work together to notify community members about the ordinance in advance of May 14.