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“Anyone have an idea who is responsible for this and how we can speak out against it?”

by Prince Of Petworth — April 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm 154 Comments

hostile

“Dear PoPville,

Noticed today that there’s some new hostile architecture in Lamont Park: wooden dividers installed on all the benches so folks can’t lie down. I’ve lived on the block facing this park for 7 years and have never found people resting on the benches to be a problem. Anyone have an idea who is responsible for this and how we can speak out against it?”

lamont bench hostile
3258 Mt Pleasant Street, NW

UPDATE from DPR:

“The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) would like to thank the community for bringing this to our attention. The installation of the middle dividers was not authorized by the District government. Therefore, at DPR’s request, the Department of General Services (DGS) removed the dividers earlier this week.”

  • MPB

    A good sledgehammer will take care of that preeeetttttyyy quickly.

    • Anon

      I’m sure that you must love being harassed by the men who used to lie on the benches. I’m a petite woman; I don’t have the luxury of being outraged by this.

      • MPB

        I’m also a petite woman, and while I have been harassed by many men, homeless and not, putting this up on benches won’t solve that problem. This might make you feel better but it perpetuates a problem that extends far beyond people sitting on benches.

        • Anon

          I don’t see why we need to provide them with a place to lie down. They don’t contribute anything positive to the neighborhood, in fact, their behavior and presence is a negative externality. I don’t like being the subject of crude remarks, I don’t like having to avoid a park that I pay for with my taxes, especially when the people preventing me from using the park aren’t the ones paying for it.

          • Caroline

            i have been harassed by more men that are well establishment in the community then i have by homeless men…

          • Anonabeer

            “I don’t see why we need to provide them with a place to lie down.” Because they are human beings?

          • Andrew T

            I don’t see how *we* are providing *them* with anything. We all are part of the same community and have equal claim to public spaces like parks.

          • David Evans

            Just a hunch, but are you new to our city? Did you arrive sometime just after January 20th?

          • PoPOverWork

            Feral? Really? You are a really awful neighbor and, dare I say, person.

      • birch

        Actually, I’m a woman too, and am disturbed by it, as are several other women who I’ve talked with about it.

        I don’t think that harassment and homelessness are the same problem. For what it’s worth, plenty of the people I’ve seen using the benches to rest or sleep on have been women.

        Being harassed/catcalled totally sucks. I’ve also been catcalled by men of a lot of different demographics, and I’ve been left alone by plenty (dare I say a majority?) of bench-users.

        I absolutely support demanding respectful treatment from strangers on the street, and working to change disrespectful attitudes. Homeless individuals deserve the same respect.

        • Anon

          I’m all for government services, I just don’t think that we should spend scarce resources on subsidizing undesirable behavior.

          • bruno

            Please make your feelings known at Mt.P. Library tonight 7PM regarding proposals for nearby Amigos Park!

          • Anonabeer

            Giving them a megaphone would be subsidizing undesirable behavior. Having a bench where people can lie down is not.

          • Pepin Lachance

            Says the person who probably did this. Who posts anonymous you do know this is considered vandalism right. Other people have to pay to have it removed.

  • JH34

    Love it! SO tired of people sleeping in public spaces, about time someone did something about it. I pay taxes and should have access.

    • birch

      I don’t think the people resting on these benches limit others’ access. I live on this block and see the park every day. It is used by a wide variety of people.

      If we are “tired of seeing people sleep in public places,” perhaps it’s time to consider the reasons why people have to sleep in public places. I’m sure the experience of sleeping out there is even more uncomfortable than the experience of seeing it happen.

      • Chucky Finster

        “If we are “tired of seeing people sleep in public places,” perhaps it’s time to consider the reasons why people have to sleep in public places. I’m sure the experience of sleeping out there is even more uncomfortable than the experience of seeing it happen.”

        + 1 trillion.

        • Sorry

          – 1 trillion

          After living in the for five years my empathy ended after seeing two men laying on benches in very nice parks (Kalorama) with their penis hanging out, one sleeping and one masturbating.

          ***My young daughter was with me both times. I don’t have tolerance for this and yes the experience was disturbing and uncomfortable to say the least. Sorry, I didn’t stop to ask them if THEY were comfortable.

          • HaileUnlikely

            So you’d rather see them sitting upright doing the same?

          • Sorry

            Much less likely. In my anecdotal experience 2 penises laying down, one masturbating to 1 penis standing up, non masturbating. Also, it’s much easier for people to sleep and linger on benches than it is for them to stand for hours on end.

            I don’t think sleeping on benches is appropriate. It obviously reduces the number of people who can use the bench and they’re not put there for sleeping.

            Also, why the outrage over this one bench divider, many benches in the city are installed with dividers or they install mini benches that you can’t sleep on. This is nothing new.

          • Anon

            Much less likely? Your anecdotal evidence means absolutely zilch. Perhaps we can get the Kinsey Institute to look into this matter?
            .
            (Though, sorry that you and your daughter witnessed this behavior.)

          • flieswithhoney

            Better not take your daughter to Meridian Hill on Sunday for the drum circle. Plenty of well-dressed 20-30 year olds peeing in the bushes after imbibing too much rose.

          • Sorry

            May be those people better stop peeing in public? I’ll take my daughter to public spaces of my choosing and call the cops if people choose to expose themselves to a minor. Regardless of the scenario, it’s indecent exposure to a minor. Sometimes requiring registration as a sex offender so please don’t warn me that I may want to change my behavior when it’s the young men (or women) urinating in public that should be changing their behavior. You are not entitled to use a public park as your restroom.

            And yes, my anecdotal evidence means something to me. That was the point of me saying that, you can have your opinion and I can have mine for my own reasons.

            I think that’s the greater problem. When you stay in your echo chamber you forget there are others out there with different, respectable opinions, formed based on real experiences. I respect that you don’t feel threatened by this behavior and I fully expect that you respect that I do for my own reasons.

          • Sorry

            I should add, your comment about the attire of humans urinating in public means nothing to me.
            **
            It’s offensive regardless of who is doing it and for what reason.

          • FridayGirl

            Sorry, it seems perhaps your problem is with *anyone* being improperly exposed in public. You should take it out on those people then, not homeless people, the vast majority of whom sound like they haven’t done anything to you.

          • Sorry

            FridayGirl, I’m not “taking out” on anyone. This is post asking for commentary on a particular situation and I’ve expressed why the separator does not bother me. I don’t see how you can link this separator to only homeless people and make irresponsible claims that I am “taking it out” on homeless people? I don’t think people should be sleeping in public, period. Not homeless people, not drunk 20-30 year olds, not college kids. Get it?
            **
            And yes, I have a problem with *anyone* exposed in public. In MY personal experience, that has been men in parks. I have no idea if they’re homeless or not, I didn’t bother to ask – sorry.

          • General Grant Circle

            (for the record – you can masturbate standing up and sitting down too)
            😉

          • flieswithhoney

            We agree that exposing oneself in public in unacceptable. Where we disagree is that if people, more often than not, homeless people, are sleeping on a bench and not doing anything harmful, then I don’t have a problem. I’ve taken plenty of naps at my local park and yet somehow I don’t think I’m the type of person you’re objecting to sleeping in the park. On the weekends, people spend hours taking up space with picnic blankets or activities thus preventing others from using that space and often leaving trash behind. Seems parallel to your concern that sleeping on a bench prevents others from using the park. I’d rather funds be spent on social services than putting an eff-you barrier on a park bench.

        • David Evans

          +1 bazillion

      • Pleasanter

        +1, very well stated. I completely agree, and think hostile architecture doesn’t help anyone’s interests or the community.

      • Anonymous

        FWIW, there are drunks passed out on the benches during the day. Then they go home at night to where they live. That’s probably more the issue than homeless people sleeping on them at night.

      • crayons

        Completely agree. If someone needs a bench to sleep, so be it: that’s not the big picture.

      • kgw

        Slow clap. Thanks for this reply. I couldn’t be that coherent when I first read it this morning.

        There are a lot of things my taxes go towards that I don’t directly benefit from or consume. But that just what it means to be a part of society.

        I’m increasingly frustrated by the self-centered rhetoric and decision making that I see everyday. =(

    • Anon

      A lot of people don’t like you, but I surmise you don’t care much about others.

  • err

    you dont have to speak out. you could just use a screwdriver. it doenst look like they put a lot of effort into securing it.

  • Hstreeter

    This is great. We need more of this. I would be much happier if we just got rid of benches in the first place.

    • Kingman Park It

      Like, got rid of benches entirely?

      Ok…

      • Cam

        Actually, all the benches were recently removed from the park in Chinatown at 6th and Massachusetts, and now the park is clean and no one loiters there. I don’t see drug users there now, either. No more cat calls, or camp sites. There’s no one there period. It may not be the ideal solution, but I feel safe walking through the park now since absolutely no one hangs out there any longer. Huge difference from the days with benches.

        • FridayGirl

          The problem with this, though, is that then they just move somewhere else. And then it turns into a “Ok, so now your park is fine but now they’re in MY park” and then people argue about that. There has to be a more comprehensive solution that eliminating every bench in the city (at which point I can guarantee they’d still be sitting on the ground).

        • Correction

          Actually, Chinese people hang out there. Do tai chi during the day, have picnics. It all happens during the work day, so you may not notice.

          Also, kids play there on weekends.

        • Reality

          lol. Is that what a park is for? So no one can use it?

    • n dfnbf

      I assume you’re either trolling or neglected to mark this as sarcasm.

    • SB_DC

      Aesthetic preference, elitism, or are you concerned about the health impact of sitting too much.

    • Arouet

      You sound fun. Some people want a nice place to sit down in the park, you know. Or should we get rid of those because people loiter in them, too?

    • Hstreeter

      Because in my neighborhood virtually every bench is taken up by old men who catcall and leave small piles of chicken wings.

      • logical argument

        that doesn’t seem to be an issue of benches. but sure, let’s take out all the benches. That will solve the cat calling and chicken wings problem.

        • Pleasanter

          True. When I get cat called, I’ve found the most effective thing to say is a very direct, “please leave me alone.” This works most times and seems to make the cat caller realize that shocker, I don’t like being cat called.

        • FridayGirl

          Yeah, there’s no benches at 14th & U Street and I’ve been catcalled there numerous times. They even put up those metal spike-ish things on the Reeves Center and it didn’t help.

      • Some of them piles ain’t so small up in my hood.

      • Reality

        Then get off H Street. Those “old men” were there long before you.

        • Anon

          And this somehow makes it ok for them to sit around all day catcalling and littering? They don’t contribute anything positive to the neighborhood, so I don’t see why we should do anything other than the bare minimum to accommodate them. If they want more, they could try behaving like adults.

          • Mac

            70% of homeless in DC are military veterans. They paid their dues and got no help from the gov’t in return. Try again.

        • Bird

          Because it’s kosher to objectify and harass people if they’ve newly arrived to the neighborhood? You feel that way about immigrants, or just yuppie women?

  • Anonymous

    It is possible that these were installed by someone not associated with the city. I say this because it’s made out of wood rather than metal, and the city has used metal in “hostile architecture” in the past (e.g. outside the Reeves Center).

    Hostile architecture is a divisive subject. On the one hand, creating a public space that limits use – even by the homeless – seems uncaring. On the other hand, I look at places like Franklin Square and note that the lack of bench spikes or dividers has resulted in it becoming a de facto homeless camp.

    • Whit

      I’ve learned that these were in fact installed by DPR, at the request of a resident. So if you’d like them removed I’d recommend contacting DPR directly or attending the April 25th ANC meeting to voice your opinion.

    • Anonynon

      well outside the reeves center was an issue, always people sleeping along that corner….I don’t think it stopped them I think they just got a thicker blanket to put over top

  • HaileUnlikely

    It appears to be made pretty well. I’d be strongly inclined to just unscrew or pry off one end, take it home, and use it as a part of a chair or something.

    • Elvis’s Mom

      Get a few together and you can sell them on Craigslist as “reclaimed wood furniture”.

  • G. Willikers

    “Anyone have an idea…how we can speak out against it?”

    As always, contact your ANC Commissioner.

  • welp

    This is outrageous and almost certainly done illegally. I hope it’s removed ASAP.

    • dcd

      What is outrageous about it?

      • Anon

        Why are you feigning stupidity?

        • Kingman Park

          Answering a question with another question isn’t feigning stupidity?

          • dcgator

            Is this a valid enough question to continue the Q train?

          • Anon

            Au contraire, mon frère from another mere!

        • dcd

          Nothing feigned at all – though whether it’s stupidity or not is a matter of opinion, I suppose. I see nothing wrong with modifications to public spaces designed to limit anti-social behavior. I consider lying on park benches, whether drunk, homeless, seeking confrontation or otherwise, to be antisocial behavior. Perhaps I’m insufficiently caring, or liberal, or whatever, but I really don’t see this as a problem at all, much less an “outrageous” problem. So, please enlighten me.

          • Anon

            Okay, I’ll bite. It’s outrageous because singular individuals should not be able to impose their personal will on public spaces without due process. This wasn’t the park service/property owner who erected this feature.

          • dcd

            Your objections are to the process that you believe was followed (or not followed), not the fact of the barrier itself? OK then. Sean at 3:25 below informed us that the city put these up. Specifically, DPR (Department of PARKS and Recreation) erected them, at he the request of the mayor; it’s a city park. It wasn’t some rogue carpenter with a grudge against narcoleptics. Assuming that is true (and I don’t have any independent knowledge either way), that would eliminate your concerns, right?
            .
            FWIW, it seems to me that a drunk sprawled out on a bench is a pretty good definition of a “singular individuals should not be able to impose their personal will on public spaces.”

          • Anon

            Thank you for saying this. What is absent in this thread is that by putting up the divider, you have created two seats with less loitering. In other words, instead of serving only one person who takes up the bench the whole day by sleeping on it, the divider serves multiple citizens by increasing the number of seats and limiting the how long they use it (because they have to sit and cant sleep on it.)

          • W6

            Sometimes I like to lay down on benches in parks. Especially on nice days. It’s very relaxing. Is that okay? Should I be allowed to do that?

  • dcd

    ” I’ve lived on the block facing this park for 7 years and have never found people resting on the benches to be a problem.”
    .
    If people don’t lay on the benches, why is this divider a problem? Or did you mean people DO lay on the benches, but you don’t have an issue with it?

    • birch

      @dcd, @LenskiBucher–No, I didn’t mean people don’t sleep there. I mean that they do, and aren’t hurting anyone by doing so.

      • dcd

        OK. Well, obviously, someone disagrees (FWIW, so do I).

  • LenskiBucher

    If, as you say, “people resting in the park has never been a problem”, then why do you want this removed?
    You seem upset about a solution to a problem that, by your own admission does not exist.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Wrong. He didn’t say that nobody ever lies down on the bench, he said that people lying on the bench have never been a problem. Those are two different things. I’ll grant that I’d prefer not to have people using the bench as their home, but I have no objection with somebody occasionally lying down on the bench for a few minutes.

  • Bloomy

    It also looks terrible… don’t deface my public property!

  • bje22201

    I’m more concerned about the bars around the trees. Trees should be free, and not locked in iron cages, and brick.

    Free the trees!

  • DE

    Maybe they’re meant to be headrests for really short people?

  • SaraEP

    Hmm I don’t know I kind of think the folks that normally sleep on these benches will simply sleep on the ground. I think most of the time they’re pretty hammered and just pass out. I step of piles of vom on my walk up Lamont St. to 16th almost every morning. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Unsure if the wood thing will be much of a deterrent to keep people out of sleeping in that park.

    • SaraEP

      *over piles of vom

      • “vom” is my new word

  • Anon

    Not only can you not lay down, you can’t hold hands with your SO! 🙁

    • W6

      +1

  • Whit

    In addition to reaching out to your ANC rep…One question is whether this is a DPR or NPS-managed park. I know the parklet on Park Rd & Mt. Pleasant Street is managed by NPS (because I once went down the rabbit hole of trying to get them to cut back the weeds…) but in a quick Google search it looks to me that Lamont Park is managed by DPR (references to the Capital Projects Division redoing the brickwork).

    A quick call to 311 can probably get you in touch with someone at DPR. I’ve also had success engaging them over Twitter – they are one of the more responsive agencies on social media.

    • Elvis’s Mom

      DPR also? Answers their phone….I know!

    • Whit

      Update: I have learned there is a resolution at the April 25 ANC meeting to ask DPR to remove them.

      • birch

        Thanks for following up, @Whit!

      • MM

        Yes, a resolution has already been drafted to take down the dividers. It will be offered at the next ANC meeting

    • Neighborly

      Can we also contact our ANC to have more of these installed?

  • Garth Algar

    this was discussed a couple of times on nextdoor mt pleasant, i think it has been brought to the attention of the ANC (or will be at the next meeting)

  • MtP&Park

    These are ugly as f*ck. My windows look out onto these and I don’t want to see them. And no, I don’t mind seeing people lay on them.

  • Gerry

    Could be to stop skateboarders too.

    • General Grant Circle

      +1
      Though usually they put screw small bumps into benches.

      Ahhhh takes me back to the glory days

  • TJ

    This was done by a “vigilante carpenter,” presumably, and could easily be removed someone with similar skills. No need for meetings, calling ANC commissioners, or speaking out.

    • Elvis’s Mom

      Vigilante Carpenter is an excellent band name.

      • FridayGirl

        +1. hahahahahaha….

    • AE

      Per ANC 1D google group, they were installed by Dept of General Services per request of a resident

  • asdf

    I’m sure everybody outraged by “hostile architecture” has done everything they can to make their local shelters more comfortable and accommodating to the homeless.

    • kgi

      Shouldn’t that be the other way around? If you support hostile architecture, you better also support your local shelters.

      • FridayGirl

        agreed. unfortunately people are often pretty irrational.

      • asdf

        Park benches aren’t intended for sleeping, but shelters are, therefore quit complaining about park benches and help your local shelter accommodate those who would otherwise sleep on a park bench.
        The logic is pretty simple.

        • kgi

          asdf – Sorry, let me rephrase: Everyone should support their local shelters, especially those who oppose letting people sleep on park benches.

    • bean

      asdf, Yes! Reminds me of the sign someone held at the women’s march that read: “I’m sure I’ll see all you nice white ladies at the next Black Lives Matter meeting, right?”. If you want to see change in your community, get involved with organizations that are finding solutions. Someone was angry that people were sleeping on benches, they took action, but this is going about it in the wrong way. This is like treating symptoms rather than trying to find a cure. The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness is a good resource to start with (Shelter Hotline: 1-800-535-7252).

  • This is not a pro or con comment, but I know the benches around the Columbia Heights Plaza at one time were to have some sort of dividers, but they never came to pass in the final construction. Now we have men and women high on drugs or alcohol lying on said benches or the sidewalks themselves.
    .
    Supposedly the “CLEAN TEAM” will help resolve this by reaching out/working with social services to those who are need. However, many of the shelters and other overnight non-profits will only take sober individuals – and many of those who are in need refuse it anyway.

  • Anonthony

    I propose a compromise: Leave these dividers in place for people who wan to sit upright, and string up some nice hammocks between the trees in the parks so the neighborhood drunks have a place to relax. That would be a much nicer place to take a nap than a hard, wooden park bench.

  • Anonymous

    The article (at the other end of the link) on “subtle” design features that can make public spaces seem more hostile is quite interesting. Admittedly, this particular feature is way less than subtle. This kind of feature may keep people from sleeping on public benches. But I’ve noticed more and more people passed out on the ground in public areas. Not sure what subtle design feature could be used to make the ground less hospitable to being passed out on. Personally, I don’t think the cost of making it difficult for everyone to use this bench in a normal way is worth the “benefit” of keeping a small group of folks from “misusing” the bench. Someone posted about a park in Chinatown where all the benches have been removed. So now no one uses the park. Is that really the best answer? Do we really want to “hostile” our way out of having any usable public spaces.

    • Anonymous

      If the only people using the park were either homeless or gorked out then the park wasn’t of much benefit to the wider community. Now there are no benches, but it’s more pleasant to walk through. There is benefit to that even if there is nowhere to sit anymore.

      • W6

        Like it or not… homeless people as well as people who are gorked out are humans and also a part of the community.

      • Mamasan

        Let’s be clear – there is benefit to that – for YOU. Now, for the 2 or 3 minutes that you might be walking through that park, you don’t have to come face to face with the human beings who perhaps have not been as fortunate as you, and/or have not made the best choices, nor to deal with their suffering. Why is kindness so very hard? What does it hurt you to have to walk past someone who’s hurting? Why do you want to take away their minimal comfort to continue to maximize your own? Seriously, think about what that person’s life is for just a moment and realize that what you’re asking for is incredibly entitled and lacking in empathy.

        • birch

          +1

    • dcd

      “I don’t think the cost of making it difficult for everyone to use this bench in a normal way . . . ”
      .
      You sit on the bench, on one side or the other of the partition. That’s not difficult.

      • FridayGirl

        Well, yes, if you’re only one person. If you’re more than one person I can see it becoming… odd and uncomfortable.

    • Anon

      I also live near the Chinatown park and agree that removing the benches has been an improvement to the park space and neighborhood generally. I enjoy being able to safely walk through the parks during the day and night. Before, I would feel uncomfortable even walking through the parks in daylight because of the amount of drug and alcohol use, camping, and loitering. The parks are much cleaner too. Even though there are no benches, I’d consider walking a dog in the park or bringing a blanket to read on the grass – neither of which I’d consider before.

      As someone who has lived in DC for four years, I’ve been frustrated that most places I’ve lived the public park space has been unusable to the general public because it is overrun with camps of homeless people. It’d be nice to have park space that could actually be used like a park rather than a giant area that you have to make an extra effort to avoid.

      While we need social services to help solve this problem on a larger level, removing benches or installing dividers does is a small step that can make a big difference to allowing the park to be used by the community again.

  • Tom

    Take a page out of Kramer and Newman’s book and deploy a fleet of rickshaws to compete with Metro’s suckitude. Everybody wins. Give them signs for local businesses to wear, too—Hobovertising!

  • easier said than done, I know

    I find this tactic depressing and representative of the divide in our communities, there are those who worked hard and took advantage of good opportunities to go to college are working hard to earn salaries and buy homes in now desirable places don’t want to see the unwashed bums with no ambition or possibility of advancement laying about in their trendy hood. I think if the people who complain about others in the park would use the park more, they would displace the ones they are complaining about. I believe parks belong to whoever uses them, barring illegal activity that harms others. I’m reminded of Trolley Turnaround park, which has seen its drunk population taper off, or at least quiet down, after renovation and increased use by families. I would recommend that people should be the change they seek, and not try to subvert others’ use of the space.

    • well

      I can’t believe this isn’t satire, but I want to be clear to the person who posted this comment: success in America is determined almost entirely on factors beyond personal control. It’s highly likely if we went through the circumstances of your life, it would be clear you have benefited from many privileges that the people sleeping on benches were never afforded.

      • birch

        Agreed, @well.

        Also, when you have a bunch of money and move into a “trendy hood,” you don’t get to control what everyone else does and who gets to stay in public spaces. Some of these folks have lived in Mt P for a long time and will likely outlast you when you get sick of the city and move out to the suburbs. And saying people you have never spoken to have “no ambition or possibility of advancement” (???) is ridiculous. You have no idea what their lives have been like or what they have been through.

  • Rob

    God. A lot of you are the reason we find our commons being snatched up and privatized at a rampant pace. You’d rather have them not exist at all, rather than actually be used. But then, what do you care? You have money – you can go sit on a patio at one of DC’s 100 million restaurant patios. Hell, you probably have at least a balcony, if not a front yard – what do you need from a public resource full of eye sores?

    • bruno

      I find this dividing of the benches mean-spirited, and by and large people in Mt. Pleasant like a mixed scene. I do think, though, adding “yet another” park (Amigos Park) is unnecessary when we already have this park and several others nearby, and we see how they are used. Not sure what more evidence we need?! So again, it’s not “anti homeless,” but anti perhaps over-push on parks in the area… I think we have enough parks.

    • dcd

      I really can’t figure out if you’re attacking the pro-divider or anti-divider crowd.

      • bruno

        I am attacking the dividers and I am attacking Amigos Park. (That is, let’s just leave things as they are now!) That is, we have parks, let’s leave them alone, but for heaven’s sake, do we need another?!?! There is also a park at Park and Mt. Pleasant Street, a bricked over triangle near the Argyle. And more!

        • dcd

          I was confused about Rob’s position, not yours.

        • well

          Yes, we do need another you crazy person. Who in the world argues against more park space????!!

  • Sean

    I live in Jack McKay’s single member district in Mount Pleasant. He mentioned this is his weekly newsletter. Apparently Mayor Bowser did a press-event/walk through in Mount Pleasant not too long ago. During that event one resident allegedly raised the issue of homeless people congregating in Lamont Park and Mayor Bowser instructed DPR to immediately put these things up.

    Don’t know if there is any truth to that story, but it seems to support this being an official installation and not being supported by the ANC.

    • Anonymous

      Man, that’s going to really put DC Republicans and “Independents” in a bind: does their hate for Bowser override their hate for the “unwashed bums”? Tune in to WTOP at 11!

    • Nty

      I can’t stop seeing ANC and thinking “African National Congress”

      • textdoc

        Are you new to D.C.?q

  • flieswithhoney

    I imagine there would be a much different reaction if this happened at Meridian Hill, where there are plenty of people sleeping, peeing in the bushes, drinking, and leaving trash everywhere every weekend/snow storm/nice day. I’d prefer resources be spent to help people who are homeless or near homeless rather than forcing them to the next park that doesn’t have anti-loitering benches.

    • birch

      +1

  • bob

    who would have guessed something like this would be so…divisive?

    • FridayGirl

      ha! i see what you did there….

  • andy2

    Are these any worse than when buildings play classical music or that sound “only” teenagers can hear?
    It is great and no different than the undulating benches put in at Navy Yard. It keeps the parks more welcoming to the entire community during prime-use hours.

  • Dirtygunz8

    Somebody’s always got something to bench about.

  • Reality

    Putting up these dividers will not eliminate the problem. People will still be homeless. People will still have mental disease on the streets. Stop clutching your pearls like the world is falling apart because a person is asleep on a bench. Go volunteer for a cause to get people into stable housing, work, or mental care.

    • W6

      +1

  • anon

    I have nothing against the homeless. But I do wish I could use the park for what they are there for – sitting for a bit, taking a moment to enjoy the outdoors. That’s not possible when it’s being used as a homeless camp.
    .
    Maybe these people who are so concerned about making sure people can have comfortable places to sleep in parks could show some real compassion and take a homeless person to their home, feed them dinner, and let them sleep on their couch for a few nights?

    • birch

      I’m not sure if you’re speaking in general, but if you’ve spent any time in Mt P, you’ll know that this particular park is not used as a homeless camp. Homeless individuals sleep there sometimes, but they don’t camp out or leave their stuff there all day.

      Also, your assumption about “what parks are there for” is just that–an assumption. They are public spaces and I’ve never heard of a rule that says how many moments you can spend there.

  • A little late to the party, but, yes, these were put up recently (on or a few days before April 14th) by DC. The Mayor conducted a “walk through” of Mount Pleasant St on February 13th, and a couple of community members who were along asked the Mayor for the dividers. The ANC was not provided any other notice, nor consulted on their form. In general, we want DC agencies to follow through on such requests, but in this specific instance, it’s clear that most residents want these to go; it’s a good problem to have, and one that’s easy to fix. At our Tuesday meeting, the ANC will ALSO hear from Polly Donaldson, Director of DC’s Department of Housing and Community Development, and consider a few resolutions addressing homelessness and housing. We hope residents will come to learn about current and future work to end homelessness and inequality in DC.

  • kgw

    This is what the Pope just did to help the homeless: http://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/04/10/pope-francis-laundry-romes-homeless-opens-vatican

    How does DC rank on the “love thy neighbor” scale? What are we each contributing to this community?

  • Raych

    Nothing a hacksaw can’t fix!

  • W6
    • W6

      lol here*

  • Rico
  • Bradley Fuller

    There is a meeting tomorrow at the Mount pleasant library at 730 pm to decide what to do about these.

  • Anon

    Look the homeless of DC is no longer the down on his luck Vietnam vet. In the tiny Chinatown park the 30 men who sat there daily were in their 50s, sharp witted and able bodied. They would spend their days drinking and doing drugs and that kind of person is dangerous because they have nothing to lose. These are men that got out of prison and never got a job. DC is pro ex-con, they can get assistance at the Office of Returning Citizens and thanks to our last mayor, job applications are not allowed to ask if you have a criminal history. These men weren’t begging for money, they were getting checks from social security. They sleep in the shelter nearby which kicks them out at 7am so they have to spend their days somewhere. You people are worried about their rights to sit on a bench in a park I pay taxes for? I pay a Mt Vernon tax and DC taxes, yet couldn’t walk my dog in my neighborhood park that had 2 ODs last summer.

    • Mac

      You don’t even know what percent of your measly taxes go to these parks. You probably spend more to defense funding the US obsesses over. Also, ODs happen everywhere. Have you been to a Adams Morgan or Palisades? Get a grip.

  • Shannon S

    Everyone complaining the homeless contribute nothing. You don’t know what is happening in their life could be temp setback or they could be suffering major mental illness. This is what being a good decent person does. You take care of people who can’t take care of themselves. Anything less than that attitude is disgraceful imo

  • oboe

    I agree this is terrible. If this guerrilla carpenter has such a problem with homeless people, they should move out to the suburbs…where we’ve organized every single legal and zoning decision around minimizing our homeless population. Take your tax dollars across the border, vote to cut the social safety net, and look back over your shoulder at DC tut-tutting wistfully about various social tragedies that have nothing to do with you now that you’re no longer a DC resident.

    That’s what the decent folk do.

  • NEgal

    I am disgusted by some of the comments on here. No compassion for chronically homeless people, only contempt that they are muddying up the landscape of an upscale neighborhood. It bears mentioning that this is in Ward 1, which is holding out on a site for a shelter that could help remedy the problem of people having to sleep in public spaces: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/housing-complex/article/20858854/one-dc-ward-still-doesnt-have-a-home-for-a-new-homeless-shelter

  • Nty

    I’m glad I got to read this. I had NO idea cat calling was such a huge problem until very recently. One of the perks of being a big ugly dude I guess. I’m ashamed that women have to go through that… I hereby vow to never catcall — not something I do anyway

  • Thank you

    Wow….A park bench obstruction can bring out the best and worst in people I see. I am simply amazed sometimes, this being one of them. What about that wall that someone wants to build to obstruct an entire border? Or the fact that this country has 5% of the population of the world yet 25% of the world’s prison inmates? The increase of female prisoners jumping 59% in the past 8 years alone. The supreme Court stating that a police officer’s lack of knowledge in the law is OK, but for a citizen lack of the law is no excuse for not following it. Oh, and the fact that it is not their job to protect us and are not required to stop us from being harmed in the line of *Their* duty.
    My over-wordy point is not to discredit anyone or any opinion stated here. My point is after this debate is settled can we move on to something of substance that effects all of us?

    • That’s the point. It does effect us all. This is just a symptom to a very real and growing problem. The number of homeless is not going to go down as the population goes up. The economy hasn’t recovered, it’s been covered up. Unemployment goes down each time unemployment money runs out for legitimately unemployed people. Jobs are plentiful, but so are the candidates for those jobs. Why should I higher a regular worker when a worker with a degree is available? All those bachelors, masters and in some cases PhDs who went out of work during the economic downturn were thrown into the job market and filled a lower branch pushing others into a jobless void. I understand you seem to have an issue with our woefully overpopulated prison system, which are apparently run by private companies whose best interest is served by filling the prisons, and more specifically the female population of inmates, but this issue is just as important and definitely effects us all.

  • It might sound simple or insane but I used just these kinds of scrap lumber to build a, (12ft x 10ft x 6ft) x 2, two room playhouse for my children and they loved it. Put the scraps to good use and consider the vandals to be vile, but turn their works into contributions. Repurpose the wood. I even built a little wooden fence from pallet wood and painted it all with reclaimed paint. Total cost to me was slightly under $100 including the gas I spent hauling the wood, buying the paint brushes and buying the screws. Used a few battery lights for nighttime adventures, but I already owned those; bought them at the dollar store. If you’re wondering where to get more wood, find out who supplies the big signs for your gas stations because they usually have a bunch of wood left over from the packing crates the signs come in.

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