On March 7, two panhandlers were stationed at the intersection of Mira Mesa Boulevard and Westview Parkway. One of the two men stood on the center divider of Westview Parkway while another stood on the median of Mira Mesa Boulevard. An elderly man limped up and down the narrow median on Westview Parkway, using a cane and holding a cardboard sign.
Mira Mesa residents have become familiar with the almost daily presence of panhandlers on or around major intersections. Although most panhandlers go about their routines in a quiet and peaceful manner, some people in the area have grown impatient with their constant presence and consider them a distraction and safety hazard to motorists.
The issue of panhandling was recently addressed at a Mira Mesa Town Council meeting. In the March town-council newsletter, San Diego police provided some insight for residents regarding the legality of panhandling. According to San Diego police, people are free to stand on the raised median. However, police are advising residents that people who are panhandling aggressively may be taken in with a citizen-initiated arrest.
When asked if a motorist would be at fault if they were to hit a panhandler by accident, SDPD officer Susan Steffen said: “The pedestrian is at fault if they leave the median.”