County Council advances bill aimed at keeping pedestrians off roadways


Photo by Erin Achenbach

Utility poles bisect the narrow sidewalks on the west side of Lemay Ferry Road in October 2020, presenting issues for those who use wheelchairs or have other mobility concerns. The east side of Lemay Ferry has accessible sidewalks, but for anyone on the west side, the only way to reach the accessible east sidewalk is by directly crossing the street, or riding in the street next to the burn to the closest crosswalk at Victory Drive.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

Editor’s note: On Tuesday night, 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas, sponsor of the bill, held the legislation for further discussion. Another substitute bill may be introduced at next week’s council meeting. 

The St. Louis County Council voted in favor of advancing a bill last week that would require pedestrians to use sidewalks or crosswalks, or possibly face ticketing and fines.

The County Council voted 5-2 May 2 to perfect the bill, which is sponsored by 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-Oakville. The council was slated to consider final passage of the bill Tuesday.

“This bill can be best be described in two words: public safety. … If you’re walking next to a roadway, you need to be on a sidewalk. If you’re crossing the street, you’ll need to be in a crosswalk,” Trakas said. “This body (the council) needs to take steps so that the public is safe when they’re walking along the sidewalk or crossing the street. That’s the motivation behind this bill.”

If there is not a sidewalk next to a roadway for whatever reason, then pedestrians will be required to be in the roadway facing oncoming traffic.

Critics of the bill said that it discriminates against the homeless community but Trakas said that was not the intention of the legislation.

“This bill discriminates against no one and excludes no one. Everyone is covered by this bill,” Trakas said.