Mayor Sharon Konopa enthusiastically cast the tie-breaking vote Wednesday as the Albany City Council, wading through a jam-packed agenda, passed an ordinance outlawing improper use of transit shelters.

Also Wednesday, the panel unanimously approved a resolution for the development of a request for proposals to prepare a preliminary design for a new downtown fire station, and received a $150,000 check from Albany Helping Hands to pay off loans issued in 2007 and 2008.

Joining Konopa in voting yes on the shelter ordinance, following a lengthy discussion, were Bessie Johnson, Ray Kopczynski and a reluctant Floyd Collins. The dissenters, fearing the rules were too draconian and fraught with unintended consequences, were Rich Kellum, Dick Olsen and Bill Coburn.

The ordinance, which takes effect immediately, is basically geared toward keeping people from living in bus shelters and at the Albany transit station and thus preventing transit patrons, and city staff, from using and working at the facilities in a safe and efficient manner.

It reads in part that no one should "remain in or within 20 feet of a bus shelter or train depot seating for a period in excess of one hour within a twenty-four hour period."

It also says: "Only persons who are boarding, disembarking or waiting for public transportation and have tickets 

are allowed to remain upon or occupy public transit shelters; and ... no person shall place object(s) or substance(s) on the seats of any transit shelter and will not lie down on or across seats or floors when it inhibits, obstructs or blocks the proper use of such seats; 'transit shelter' shall mean any and all city-owned or managed bus shelters, train shelters, non-covered bench areas related to bus or train transportation and the train depot."

Follow Steve Lundeberg on Twitter, @AnyGivenLundy, or email him at steve.lundeberg@lee.net

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