Council Measure Would Prohibit Median Strip Solicitations

Panhandlers might have to move off the median strip if Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice gets a bill passed.

Rice says he believes the median strip is too dangerous for soliciting passing motorists, whether the good cause is for someone down onttheir luck or for a nonprofit.

“What we’ve seen is consistently over the past five years where people have been hit and killed — not just injured but hit and killed — by standing in medians,” Rice said.

Rice has introduced legislation that would keep solicitation out of the median strip, although solicitations would still be allowed on sidewalks and shoulders.

He pointed out the death of Richard Lee Cooper, who died panhandling at Middlebrook Road and Md. 355. Cooper died in June after he was struck by an SUV.

The council has tried to eliminate median strip solicitations in the past but ran into opposition. Firefighters raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association with their “Fill the Boot” campaign.

On Tuesday, David Ortega was walking up and down the median strip at Old Georgetown Road and Md. 355. He uses a walker to traverse the short distance, and he wears a sign saying he suffers from multiple sclerosis, and kidney and bladder cancer.

“I talk to different places, but they wouldn’t give me a job,” Ortega said.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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