[Hpn] The Seattle Bench Project

Sun, 18 Jun 2000 08:03:21 -0400 (EDT)

anitra@speakeasy.org writes:

<< Do they work? Here's a benchmark: "It really has changed the atmosphere of 
 our block for the better," says Victoria Gentry of Vain, a Belltown salon. 
 "Radically." >>

Here in Colorado Springs, we saw an example of the opposite effect. The 
Salvation Army does an evening food run with their mobile canteen on week 
nights. They park in the parking lot of the County Welfare offices. No 
problem with this was noted; people came early, waited, got their food and 
ate, litter was picked up and every one left.
Then, the Salvation Army got the idea that a couple of picnic tables would 
"make things nicer". They certainly did, during the hour in the evening that 
the Salvation Army was there to supervise. Unfortunately, during the day, 
especially on week-ends, the tables served as an open air cocktail lounge for 
the Mad Dog/40 ouncer set (the parking lot is across the street from a 
residential neighborhood). The area became a hang-out, cops were called to 
break up loud drinking parties and litter was a problem. After a number of 
neighbors complained, the tables were removed and the problem went away. I 
bet in Seattle, the benches are in well chosen locations that the public 
"owns". Our little problem was in a "un-owned" piece of turf.
Matt Parkhouse, RN; Colorado Springs, CO