Sidewalks should not be blocked by vehicles

Is there a city ordinance against blocking the sidewalk? People in my neighborhood seem to think that driveway trumps sidewalk, but I don't agree. Shouldn't the city ticket people who park their vehicles so that pedestrians, even handicapped people, must go out into the street because a vehicle blocks the sidewalk?

— Mary B., via email

When asked, officials from the Ashland Police Department said that they tend to follow the state laws on sidewalk parking enforcement in lieu of any obvious city ordinance for Ashland. Medford, however, does address the issue of parking on or blocking sidewalks in Municipal Code 6.330 Prohibited Parking Generally.

The Medford Municipal Code says that no person shall park a vehicle in an unimproved portion of the front setback of any structure in any residential zoned district, within an area marked off by traffic markers or by yellow or orange stripes painted on the curb or pavement, or across the entrance to an alley or driveway. Exceptions are made for properly marked commercial vehicles making drop-offs and for emergency vehicles.

The code goes on quite a bit about a variety of parking scenarios, but those instances above seem to most directly answer your question about blocking sidewalks with vehicles.

Furthermore, Medford Municipal Code 5.280, Persons Obstructing Sidewalks and Streets, goes on to say that no person shall stand or gather with others upon any street, street crossing, or sidewalk in a manner that obstructs the free passage of pedestrians or vehicular traffic.

Person or vehicle, it seems blocking the sidewalk is in violation of the code.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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