Sidewalk Ordinance Goes Into Effect
Some protest, but police don't enforce
After months of public debate, several assembly votes, and more than a little controversy, Anchorage’s downtown sidewalk ordinance went into effect Thursday morning.
Or did it?
Dozens of people were sitting down in protest of the law since it went into effect at 6 Thursday morning. They said they’re willing to risk arrest to show how they feel about the ordinance, but Anchorage police said that wouldn’t happen, at least for now.
In fact, even though the law is technically in effect right now, police say they won’t even be able to enforce it for at least several weeks.
Before that can happen, they’ll have to coordinate with both the municipal attorney’s office and the court system. It can be a time-consuming process, and police say the sidewalk issue just isn’t important enough to expedite it.
“Those things aren’t in place yet, even though, you know, an ordinance passes, a new law comes into being, it’s not necessarily enforced the first day that it comes into law,” said Lt. Anthony Henry of APD. “Because you have to take care of some of those administratifve things that have to take place.”
Even when the ordinance does become enforceable, police say they won’t be targeting protests like this. Instead, they say it’s intended to prevent Anchorage’s homeless from setting up camp on downtown sidewalks.