“Curious who is responsible for new anti-homeless spikes in front of 7-11 at Vermont and L? The city or businesses?”


Craig writes:

“Curious who is responsible for new anti-homeless spikes in front of 7-11 at Vermont and L? The city or businesses? These are on all the planters on L in front of the liquor store etc”

I’d guess the business. If so, anyone know the legality of it?


52 Comment

  • the legality? well here i am just another popviller, but I would wager a pretty good guess that there is nothing unlawful about the building owner installing these on their own planters….

    • it doesn’t look like there is anything in the municipal regulation that prohibits this. The planters may be designed to serve as seating, but there is nothing to prohibit deterring them from being used as seating:


    • Legality? Yeah, they are called property rights.

    • “Anti-homeless spikes” is purposefully inflammatory language. The question is whether or not a business has the right to design what goes on the sidewalk space in front of their establishment.

      • +1 victoria

      • +1 Victoria

      • Without commenting on the legality, your “property rights” don’t encompass simply doing whatever you want cuz – hey, my property. There are zoning laws, building codes, public rights of way, safety standards, et cetera. I’m constantly gobsmacked by the sheer number of people who seem to think they have these unlimited “rights” that aren’t actually codified anywhere as actual rights.

        • Well, sure but I think you are further solidifying the property rights argument. Property rights are ‘negative rights’. Unless the govt tells the business they can’t they essentially can.

      • if by “purposefully inflammatory language” you mean “objective reality,” then yes, you’re right. never ceases to amaze me how ppl like you ignore/don’t care about the impact these devices have on this already stigmatized, low-resource group.

  • ummm hey yo…those have been there for years.

  • I’ve never heard of anti-homeless spikes before. When I see things like this I always think they are intended to prohibit dogs from going to the bathroom in them? Maybe not.

  • I was looking this up (a less spiky version) several months ago and found that the actual term for this kind of thing is “loafer rail.”
    I don’t see that it’s “anti-homeless” per se. More like anti-loitering… or anti-sitting-down.

  • I’ve also see those marketed to building managers as being preventative measures to stop skateboarders from doing rail grinds.

    • I’ve seen the round ones used to deter skateboarders, and I love the idea, but these just look ….aggressive. And dangerous. (yes, I’ve tripped over my own feet before and probably will again. I do not want a spike in the eye just because I’m clumsy)

      • To clarify – I love the idea to deter skateboarders from grinding on marble and granite.

      • ah

        Yeah, they look far more dangerous than necessary to achieve the goal of preventing people from sitting, lying, rail grinding, whatever the merits of doing that are.

    • justinbc

      When was the last time you actually saw someone grinding rails in DC…?

      • Tbh, I saw someone doing it last weekend.
        But yes, I also agree with the above posters that the spikes are a little aggressive (and from what I’ve seen when they put up loitering spikes near the Reeves Center, they don’t really deter at all — people will just sit on the ground).

      • All the time. Usually in parks.

        • Second this. Freedom Plaza is notorious for this. I saw a couple of guys riding the edge of a loading dock ramp from a delivery truck–impressive skill if not for the utter lack of respect for the property of others–before venturing back into the park time and time again.

      • ALL THE TIME!

  • how about just anti-‘sitting on our property’ spikes. They probably don’t care if you are homeless or not, they’d just prefer you don’t hang out there.

  • What difference does it make? Anyone – business or private – has a right to stop people from using the outside of their establishment (or home, etc) as a hang-out. There are public parks for this.

    • Accountering

      If they own the land, and if their isn’t sort of public easement etc. So yes, it makes a difference as to whether or not they are legally allowed to do this.

    • This likely is in public space and is being maintained by the adjacent property, so not sure about this notion that the business has some “right” to stop people from using public space in its vicinity.

    • But no longer the MLK library . . .

    • I’d ask you to check out my comment below. A consideration of who else uses places to sit along a sidewalk.

  • DC can barely take care of its own property so I doubt it would install these on private property.

    And the spikes are probably as much “anti-homeless” as they are anti-smoker.

    • I live 3 blocks north and come down here pretty frequently (more for the liquor store than the 7-11). There are usually between 1 and 3 homeless hanging here, panhandling. Never had a single problem with them or seen them be aggressive towards anyone, but they were very regularly there. Like, at least 90% of the time. The spikes are pretty clearly meant to deter them.

  • They’re for the birds!

  • BB&T did the same thing on their window ledge by the Columbia Heights Metro stop a year or two ago.

  • I HATE things like this. I’m not a strong walker, and use a cane. But I need to stop and rest every hundred feet or so. I am often sitting for a few minutes at places like this.

    They may be put there to keep the homeless away, but things like this too often ruin my ability to walk down that block. I know I’m not the only one. I too often find myself sitting near elderly men/women and other semi-handicapped folks like myself. We’re part of the invisible people that folks don’t think about.

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