[Hpn] New benches have steel dividers to make it harder for homeless to sleep

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 4 Nov 2004 20:52:39 -0500


Bus shelters not homeless-friendly

Nov 4, 2004

VANCOUVER - New benches in Vancouver bus shelters are a "mean-spirited"
attack on the homeless, says the Downtown Eastside Residents Association.

The 450 new benches feature raised steel dividers, making it more
uncomfortable for people to lie down on them.
DERA spokesperson Kim Kerr says city hall needs to make more allowances for
people who can't afford shelter.
Rino Viswasam, the project manager for the city's street furniture program,
says the dividers weren't designed to target the homeless.

But he does say they're the results of concerns expressed by transit users
at a workshop with city officials.
"There was some concern from transit users about people using the benches to
sleep on. They felt uncomfortable to ask people to move on, so that they
could sit on the benches," he says.

Viswasam says the dividers are also meant to make it impossible for anyone
to sit in the middle, and take up all the space.

He also points out that the raised steel dividers also give elderly riders a
lever to raise themselves up.

Copyright  CBC 2004