Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
Soliciting is illegal in Fort Worth, but panhandling at certain intersections has gotten so bad the city has taken extra steps to stop it.
Fort Worth is going to extra efforts to deter soliciting along intersections where it has become a problem.
The city is testing signs that say "Soliciting From Roadway Prohibited" at the busy intersection of South Hulen Street and Interstate 20.
"Especially during the Christmas time, we had a lot of panhandlers here, and citizens would call in," Fort Worth police Cpl. Tracey Knight said. "At major intersections with heavy volume of traffic, people can get hurt."
The calls and concerns about the safety issue led the city and the area's neighborhood patrol officer to come up with the signs.
"He did some research on his own. He found out that Arlington and Grand Prairie have had a lot of success [with] just putting up signs, so it seemed like a pretty cost-effective solution so people wouldn't get hurt," Knight said.
Traffic can easily back up at South Hulen Street and Interstate 20 without the added distraction of panhandlers.
"Usually there are three or four people here," Miguel Juliao said. "You'll see them on a weekly basis, underneath the bridge."
The signs at Hulen Street and Interstate 20 may not be the city's last.
"They're up for a 90-day trial period, and if the calls decrease and if the problem decreases, we're going to look at purchasing more signs and putting them up in other problem intersections," Knight said.
Some drivers said they aren't sure the signs will work.
"It's hard to change human behavior, as you know," V.G. McDonald said.
"It may for a while," Lynn Martinez said.
But others said they hope the signs will do the job.
"I hope so. I think it is a concern for a lot of drivers," Juliao said.
The signs went up about 60 days ago. In about a month, the police department, along with the transportation and public works department, will see if the pilot program is a success.