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APB for people who keep stealing the dividers on benches at the Central Square T stop

Wanted for stealing MBTA property

Transit Police report they are looking for four people who have now twice made off with the new arm rests/dividers on benches at the Red Line station in Central Square - the ones that some say are really a hostile act against the homeless.

They left with the metal pieces once around 3:25 a.m. on Feb. 14 and again around 5:50 p.m. on Feb. 22, police say.

If they look familiar, contact detectives at 617-222-1050 or send an anonymous tip to 873873.

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Comments

Are the dividers in question the kind that keep anyone from getting comfortable on the benches, to discourage homeless people from getting some rest in a dry semi-safe place?

If so the larceny is probably direct action against that. There's a big push among certain groups to thwart hostile architecture the government keeps putting up.

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Voting closed 149

I thought the armrests were a way to force social distancing, in response to COVID.

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Boston started putting up similar silver "age strong" (I think the phrase was) benches all over the place outdoors a couple years ago.

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Thanks, found the official info on that. So also presumably not intended to be anti-homeless.
https://www.boston.gov/departments/age-strong-commission/age-friendly-bo...

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Unless you have a 36-inch wingspan and use both arms to help yourself sit down and stand up.

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Or if you need something to stabilize you when using your cane in your other hand to help you get up. I can't believe how fast people are to dismiss accessibility needs

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.... I found they reduced the available sitting area so I was forced to stand rather than sit when otherwise people could have scooted down the bench to make room for me.

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Real problem there is people should have gotten up for you. If more seating had been available it probably would have been occupied.

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I use a cane to walk but to sit down or stand up from a bench, I always keep one hand on the side railing for help or to stabilize. Never two hands.

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The dividers were only put there to keep the homeless and unhoused from resting on the benches. The T has also removed benches from certain bus stops and turned off the heat in certain silver line stops to freeze out the homeless.

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You are too cynical. They are broken from lack of proper maintenance. You must be new around here.

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They are right. I was waiting for the SL3 one day and CPD were down there looking for someone. The whole place looked like it had been a home for someone earlier in the day and had scattered.

After that the heat lamps didnt work any more.

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Then the AC gets turned off at 10 Park Plaza this summer.

Someone should tell the WNBA benchwarmer to have someone look into this. Would make a great campaign buzz for her for Governor.

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Do you ever just not?

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Sexist, much?

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I'm have voted for her and will vote for her again. She even has made light of her playing time. Always ready to pounce and can never take a joke. The two of you really need to calm down.

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Looks like City Manager DiPasquale to me, one of the others is clearly CPD Commissioner Bard.

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Are they really 'arm rests' or hostile architecture meant to deter the homeless?

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When it prevents, rather than facilitates, resting?

Perhaps it should be called an arm stand?

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they make the seats usable for those of us who have mobility issues. I have MS and was among a group of handicapped activists that helped guide the MAAB form it's guidelines for accessible street furniture.

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I don't believe the T runs at that hour.

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The T should stop putting up the dividers instead. Seems like the easiest solution!

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Did they lurk there for two hours after shutdown and do it in the dead of night?

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They are removing the dividers because they are "hostile architecture" that keeps homeless people from sleeping in a sheltered place during winter. It's an act of non-violent civil disobedience.

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There is something to the "hostile architecture" concerns.
There is also "something" to concerns of the public wanting to be able use the public transportation system that doesn't smell like a toilet, that they can't use a bench to sit because somebody is taking up three spots sleeping, that they can't use a bench because they don't know what was secreted by the last person sleeping there, that they don't feel safe becuase they don't know if the person sleeping on the bench is stable.
There is also "something" to wanting actual services for the homeless and/or drug-addicted and/or mentally/emotionally challenged - so they don't have to wonder, they don't have to be afraid, so that those people can get those service instead of a subway platform being the best thing - instead of the "let's send them to that island we used to have and warehouse them there" trope.

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For what it's worth, though...

"non-violent" doesn't include vandalism and theft of public property
"civil disobedience" doesn't include fleeing the scene and avoiding facing charges

People who practice actual non-violent civil disobedience put their time, identity, and reputation (and risk of criminal record) on the line to force on-the-record public examination of their actions and the circumstances. of their actions. They wouldn't be dismantling & stealing pieces of benches, or hiding from responsibility. They'd be chaining themselves to benches or turnstiles, denying that amenity or service to everyone, accepting arrest, and speaking for the record.

This? This is dilettante guerilla nuisance-making. Misplaced at best, cynical at worst.

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Well-said overall. Just want to highlight this:

There is also "something" to wanting actual services for the homeless and/or drug-addicted and/or mentally/emotionally challenged - so they don't have to wonder, they don't have to be afraid, so that those people can get those service instead of a subway platform being the best thing - instead of the "let's send them to that island we used to have and warehouse them there" trope.

Simple as this. If we, as a society, don't want homeless people sleeping in the subway, we need to allow them to find another place to sleep, or provide them one. The homeless people probably don't want to be sleeping in the subway either.

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"non-violent" doesn't include vandalism and theft of public property
"civil disobedience" doesn't include fleeing the scene and avoiding facing charges

... except that it does though...

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No, it doesn't.
If it's not clear, I'll rephrase it:
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Vandalism and/or theft of public property ARE violent acts.
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"Civil" disobedience does not only mean "polite" or "bloodless" disobedience - at the same time, it's about disobedience in order to achieve a civil goal by moving the problem into the public eye.
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If you need allegory...
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus - she didn't slash the upholstery on the other seats. The lunch counter protestors confronted that discrimination - they didn't throw rocks through the windows of Woolworth's. The same with the hotel swimming pool.
If these people chained themselves to the benches - THAT would be civil disobedience.

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If you need allegory...

I think you meant to say "analogy".

(and it's a bad one)

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Sorry about that. All of my bookmarked dictionary and thesaurus webpages crashed earlier today when I was trying to find anything to explain "fanatsy", and they haven't come back up yet.
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The comparison might be overly dramatic, but the point stands. Theft and property damage are not non-violent. Hiding from responsibility is not civil disobedience.

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When being street homeless is normalize to the point of fighting over amenities, so street homeless individuals can relax, the conversation has gone too far in the wrong direction. It's not normal and vandalizing public property is just another a task in the goal of keeping the homeless targets of action policy and " services ".

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Civil Disobedience doesn't just refer to non-violent acts you personally agree with, performed in a manner you personally approve of.

For example, it can be used to refer to this burglary of FBI files, which was a much more serious crime than removing small metal bars.

https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/fbi-burglary-1971-media-pa-50th-anniver...

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While I am sure there are examples of hostile architecture around, this isn't one of them. Those aren't armrests, they're accessibility railings and are required by state and federal law (not to mention, they're identical to the bench railings going up on benches at Walden Pond State Reservation and presumably many other state parks around Massachusetts, where homelessness isn't an issue, the "hostile architecture" claim here rings pretty hollow.) They make previously inaccessible benches accessible to the elderly and handicapped. It is the same reason why the accessible seats on trains and buses are near the doors and have railings nearby and why handicap bathroom stalls and some bathtubs have have railings. It is so people with lower body mobility issues can lift themselves out of the seats. Benches without armrests are useless to many with mobility issues who rely on their upper body strength to lift them. I have firsthand experience with this issue, in September of 2019 I tripped and fell and broke the patellar tendons in both knees which required emergency surgery to repair both knees. The recovery required both legs to be locked in extension for several months while my tendons and scars healed and my only way around was via the T using crutches. Because I couldn't bend my knees, I relied on the T to get around, I would stand on buses in one of the accessible areas where the seats flip up, or stand near a door on the train, or in an area where there were no seats. The back seat of an Uber wasn't an option, with my legs locked in extension, sitting on the train wasn't an option because because my legs would block the aisle, the only place that I could conceivably sit was on the benches in the stations, however at that time most benches did not have the railings. If there was a long wait, I would lower myself down and then try to prop myself up with my crutches, which was no easy task, despite my being 5'11", 185 lbs and an open water swimmer for over 15 years with very good upper body strength, crutches are just not stable. There were several occasions I nearly missed my train because I couldn't get up without the help of strangers and MBTA personnel (and I really can not stress how helpful the T's employees universally were). I also fell several times when attempting to get up from benches on several occasions. These are absolutely necessary accessibility devices.

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Voting closed 78

Examples of hostile...

Some new (or renovated) building projects in cities include a sawtooth strip of blunt metal secured to top of retaining walls and planters to keep people from sitting there, to say nothing of sleeping there.

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Those are actually probably more to deter skateboarders from grinding along those edges.

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Looks like harmless activism, why is MBTA and CPD devoting resources to this?

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Ha ha! Who would turn them in even if they knew?

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Hop on pop, CPD is the wrong cop. If you know the bandit, report them to transit.

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Admin is anti homeless bootlicker for posting this

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Adam is a journalist, and quite left of center. As someone who supports this direct action, it’s important to know that the police are wasting resources on it.

Focus your energy on the actual bootlickers.

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it’s meant to be a “gotcha” moment.

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I admit that when I first found out what they were accused of stealing, I used a word I probably shouldn't have in the headline ("shlubs" instead of "people") because my first thought was something like "huh, what a stupid thing to steal" without stopping to think why they might want to steal them.

It was a stupid word to use in general about a fairly mundane case of larceny, even without thinking it through, and I apologize.

As I've been informed via some major Twitter ratioing, yes, there's a non-monetary reason to steal them, because the dividers prevent homeless people from sleeping on the benches and these people aren't criminals, they're political activists doing a good thing.

But the fact they stole the things, and the facts they are wanted for stealing the things, is still newsworthy, at least to me, so I've kept the post up, but with a changed headline.

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...just a bit?
yanno, pity the press release sent such crappy image captures...?
*whistles*

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I don't fault you for not knowing the real purpose of those "arm rests" before today. We've all got blind spots. But it's a bummer that you're choosing to leave up an APB for people who were literally just trying to prevent people from freezing to death. Why is this more newsworthy than any of the countless other APBs that don't get posted here?

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They are not saving lives. There are shelters and programs and outreach people who do real work with indigent population, that is directed and sustainable. This is crime.

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Members of the homeless population who "sleep rough" despite shelter availablity are often the most seriously impacted by mental health issues that cause them to be very fearful of the conditions that shelters create.

The shelters, programs and outreach people do try to get them into shelter, but hallucinations and paranoia are very difficult to deal with in shelter situations.

Instead of whining about people removing barriers as OMG CRIMINAL and sleeping in the T, perhaps you should be lobbying for all that wonderful community level mental health care to be funded and programs created - you know, what was supposed to happen after the hospitals closed and never did?

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Update: OK, I see you've seen the comment below.

There is a legitimate reason for those dividers - to comply with the ADA for people with mobility issues. Whether the T should be pursuing these people is valid question, but it's not quite the black-and-white issue I'm getting ratioed for on Twitter.

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Adam, this is a very important point that seems to be lost to those who want these arm rests removed, even with first-hand descriptions provided below by some folks who have mobility issues and need these devices so they can sit on a bench. I'm sure the MBTA must have a paper trail of which part of the organization (Access/ADA or MBTA Police) authorized and procured the arm rests. Perhaps in your role as a journalist, you could seek this info and confirm it is indeed for ADA.

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You can publish the story without the photos. Why are you trying to get these people caught?

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"Admin" wants to draw attention to the fact it's something the police are concerned about. This way readers can be knowledgeable about the sorts of things the Transit police are doing and they can protest if they disagree with the policy.

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This is the problem with how our government functions. No one is taking a critical assessment of this situation: Why are those metal bars there in the first place? Why are they being stolen? What is the goal of the folks taking them? Answering those questions will point to how funds and government resources should be directed. The REAL issue here isn't larceny or metal bars...

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I believe that we are responsible to help people that need help but I can't agree that they are entitled to sleep and live where ever they choose. You can't sleep in the T after it is closed. It is a safety issue. There have been fires and fatal accidents.

The T workers and police have to wake up and eject homeless people. By preventing them from sleeping on these benches, you avoid the whole confrontation.

We need to create more long term housing for homeless people instead of sabotaging people trying to do their job. What about the disabled people that need to sit? Should they be the ones that ask them to move.

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"Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses for the poor?"

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Do you mean the police have the right to toss the homeless out into the cold streets.

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I work alongside the transit police and they are not as heartless as people seem to make them out to be. I see them offer them rides to homeless shelters instead of throwing them out on the street but they normally refuse that and at that point they have to throw them out as they can't stay in the stations after closing.

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Thank you for this.

The shelter's are not full
By cinnamngrl on Thu, 03/04/2021 - 1:15pm.

I believe that we are responsible to help people that need help but I can't agree that they are entitled to sleep and live where ever they choose. You can't sleep in the T after it is closed. It is a safety issue. There have been fires and fatal accidents.

The T workers and police have to wake up and eject homeless people. By preventing them from sleeping on these benches, you avoid the whole confrontation.

We need to create more long term housing for homeless people instead of sabotaging people trying to do their job. What about the disabled people that need to sit? Should they be the ones that ask them to move.

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The shelters may not be full, but they are also not equipped to handle people who are suffering from mental health crises due to schizophrenia and extreme types of bipolar disorder, either.

Shelter environments do not work for people who are freaking out or who will freak out if there are too many people, weird noises, or are experiencing psychotic states of mind. It doesn't work for the other people staying there, either.

The answer to this is not to throw people into the cold. The answer is to fund the services and facilities that were supposed to be funded when the state hospitals closed. PERIOD.

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It was a huge scam when the state hospitals were closed and the services for these people never materialized. Immediate long term housing has been shown to reduce homelessness in other countries.

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Yeah, there's nowhere I'd rather stay in the middle of an unchecked pandemic while homeless and without any kind of health insurance than a crowded shelter full of strangers who have been following who-knows-what kind of safety protocols.

And that's ignoring the usual issues with shelters, ie theft, abusive staff, threats of mental and physical violence from other shelter residents, the need to show up in the middle of the day to "claim" a spot which prevents you from panhandling or earning money otherwise, etc...

Give these people actual homes that are safe and secure and you won't see them trying to sleep on benches.

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Seems like, if that's the problem that needs solving, then solve it, and this one would go away.

Yes, the right solution to "people are unhoused" is "house them". You're not wrong about that. But it does not follow that "make the city ugly and uncomfortable for everybody in order to ensure that it is even more uncomfortable for homeless people" is a good step in thr meantime.

You want people to stop sleeping on T property, and fulfill that goal by making other places to sleep better, so that people have better options, and will go to those instead? I am all about that.

You want people to stop sleeping on T property, by making T property worse so that they are even worse than sleeping on the streets?

That seems like you're looking at it backwards.

Also, "the shelters are not full" is both false, and reminds me a bit of Scrooge's quote, "are there no workhouses?"

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If the existing shelters are too horrible to stay in then fix that, but the subway is not a safe alternative.

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I believe the official word from the MBTA was that the armrests/dividers were installed for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.

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This might be a convincing argument if the ADA weren't 30 years old at this point. I doubt the MBTA had a sudden epiphany that they've been doing it wrong for 30 years, and needed to get on that.

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Actually one of the big things that the T does with station renovations is make them ADA compliant. There are still a ton of green line stations that are not ada complaint, it's literally in the public information they put out every time they renovate a station. So the T being not in compliance with the ADA isn't exactly new, the move at a glacial pace

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IMAGE(https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/002/030/657/363)

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Benches are subject to ADA requirements, including providing seat backs

https://www.ada-compliance.com/ada-compliance/903-benches

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Nobody is talking about the seat backs. This is about the dividers that prevent people from laying down on the benches. The spec you posted doesn't say anything about those.

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My bad.

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I do not know if it is an ADA requirement but arm rests are considered best practice for universal design as it allows those with mobility issues to more easily sit down and get up from bench. Where I work, any new bench we purchase has arm rests for this specific reason where most of our old benches did not.

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Those aren't seat backs.

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Many are malleable guidelines that can be tweaked for the situation and to reflect use and allow for retrofitting of existing furniture. For example, back support is suggested as a best practice, but in most of the cases on the T, the benches are up against a wall. For the benches I saw at Walden Pond State Park recently, they have the same railings, set away from the ends to allow transfer, but also backs that are similar to the rails, though the transfer seats at the ends don't have backs, though ideally they would.

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yes, it assists in standing up for those with limited mobility

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I am amazed at the amount of people here decrying "hostile architecture" and their support of unhoused people having every right to set up housekeeping in T stations. It is clear that they never, EVER take the T, so it's easy for them to pontificate from their lofty perch in leafy burbs.
I would probably do the same thing. Try visiting Bowdoin Station sometime, which I must use daily. It is overrun with homeless people who consistently smoke, urinate, defecate, vomit, and lie prone on benches meant to seat more than one person. They also leave piles of sometimes hazardous litter. Check out North Station sometime. Same deal.

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Voting closed 78

Problem: people urinate and otherwise are gross in places they ought not to be.

Solution 1: have actual bathrooms and things that are appropriate places to do those things.
Benefits: place stops being gross, and also, people who need to go to the bathroom can do so.

Solution 2: make the entire place suck so bad that nobody wants to be there.
Benefits....

I dunno. It seems to me that the obvious solution to people pissing on the floor is to put in an actual bathroom for people to use that ISN'T a floor. Am I missing something?

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Have you ever seen the bathrooms in T stations that actually have them? Like Malden Center?
Disgusting isn't the word. Apparently just because there is a toilet doesn't mean people use it. Urine soaked floors, needles, disgusting refuse. Intravenous drug users go in there, lock the door and just stay in there. Way, way too many people are posting here that clearly have no clue how the T and it's denizens actually operate.

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BMC and some other folks wanted to start a whole program where there was a safe, secure place where people could do their drugs and be offered help and narcan was available. The mayor and governor said no fucking way!! So yeah people will use in any lockable space instead.

THANKS MARTY

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An increasing number of people in the population have decided that change is best accomplished by taking matters into their own hands. This is lawlessness.

If you don't like the law, regulation, rule, or policy you engage in a democratic process to effect change.

Are these handles anti-homeless? I don't know. It could be interpreted as such. However, I have also seen plenty of seniors and disabled people using these as an aid to stand up as the train approaches. So if you are trying to help the homeless you are also hurting the elderly and disabled.

Unfortunately, social activists and urban guerillas such as this rarely see beyond their singular focus and never consider the consequences of their actions.

Frankly speaking, and this will be an unpopular statement, the same mentality is at play with the insurrection at the US Capitol. Instead of working within the law and system and accepting the majority process, they take matters into their own hands. The only difference here is the political extreme; one is hard right, and the other hard left.

These people will eventually be identified, arrested, and tried. They will then try to use their time before a jury to voice their political agenda. If the judge and prosecutor is worth their mettle, that will be disallowed.

Simple math here. They willfully removed the arm rests, that is deemed vandalism and/or theft. Guilty or not guilty on that point of law alone.

If you don't like the arm rests organize your state reps.

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You're comparing people who removed a metal part from a bench, to an armed mob that tried to violently overturn an election. These are not the same things and this is "both sides" nonsense.

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political activists? Nnnnope - theft is stealing. They are still criminals whether you like their "politics" or not.

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Imagine making this point while living in the city where we started a revolution by stealing a bunch of tea and hucking it into the harbor.

Guess they should't have done that because it was a crime!

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one of Eddie Coyle’s friends.

I don’t agree with him but I do applaud the screen name! Wish I’d thought of it first.

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Based on the number of repetitive anon posts and thumbs up, it seems this has struck a chord with a handful of people. While their goals may be noble, they are still stealing and should face the consequences.

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Laws are there to be followed, no matter how unjust. And if it turns out later the laws were unjust, hey, you're just following orders, right?

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Um, okay. Theft is just now. Cool.

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Or is this just something you've decided to become an expert in as a hobby?

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Is ensuring a safe atmosphere for middle class travelers an unjust action?

You want people to keep driving into the city? I sure don't. Want to make sure that happens? Make the T a homeless shelter.

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Is ensuring a safe atmosphere for middle class travelers an unjust action?

Counterpoint: what's "a safe atmosphere for middle class travelers" and yet unsafe for everyone else?

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I make the point about middle and lower class travelers because the wealthy just drive in and pay $30 a day to park.

A less congested city requires people using mass transit. Mass transit full of homeless people will not be used by the middle class, just the poor with no other option.

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Voting closed 52

I mean, you did seem to imply that enforcing the laws against larceny is somehow an unjust act. Shall I delve further into your "you're just following orders" comment, too?

Maybe it's just me, but taking things you don't like because you don't like them isn't the best policy. Were it a case of someone removing something you like because they think it is wrong, I'd be willing to bet you'd be a little animated about it.

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If you choose to do something illegal to make your point, then you do so knowing that there are consequences. All the anti-war protesters and civil rights protesters back in the 60's and 70's knew they were going to be arrested and that was part of the gig. Sneaking around in the night isn't really the same thing.

We must be ever vigilant
For justice to prevail
So get courage from your convictions
Let 'em haul you off to jail!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuwsjKvOIoQ

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So if some neo-Nazis think that the laws against hate crimes are unjust, then it's all good when they spray paint swastikas on a synagogue.

SMDH

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Were the armrests mounted with screws, and these people just brought a screwdriver and unscrewed them? If that was the case, they could have just replaced the screws with thumbscrews, allowing homeless people to unscrew them, sleep, and screw them back on when done.

That would have been more civil than stealing the entire armrest.

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And maybe if we leave IKEA flat packs at Bowdoin the furniture will be fully assembled when we come back the next day.

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Do you really think homeless people would be so fastidious as to screw them back on? Most homeless I see on the T are barely functional in the first place. And it would be unfair to expect T employees (if they exist) to clean up after them. I am a daily T commuter and I just don't get the people here saying "leave them alone, they're just looking for a place to lie down", etc. People saying this expose themselves as elitists who do not take the T themselves. Do they also advocate the homeless lying down in banks? In supermarkets? In restaurants? How are these public places different than the T? The T is meant to be a functional public place for commuters to get in and out of with a minimum of trouble. It is NOT a rest stop for people, homeless, drug addicted, or otherwise "who just want to lie down". Also, though I take the T on a daily basis I have yet to see a homeless person or obviously intoxicated person, and there are teeming multitudes of them, with a mask covering their face. So they are a health hazard as well.

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Voting closed 70

Which train lines/buses are you taking that you're not seeing homeless/chemically altered/mentally ill equipped people on a near-daily, if not daily, basis? I'm not being a smartass here (well, not completely...); I take the 88, 90, Red Line, and E Green Lines regularly, and see all kinds of people with all kinds of problems, although I do have to say that the huffer I saw a couple of years ago on the Green Line heading west from Lechmere with a very large plastic grocery bag carrying multiple spray cans (he had at least a dozen, maybe more), who was very obviously huffing away when he wasn't dropping cans and chasing them down the middle of the train probably takes the cake.

Most of us would like these people to please go somewhere else, but where can they go? They can't stay at shelters during the day; the libraries are doing pickup/dropoff only; and it's really too cold to just hang around outside, although a lot of people do it. Clearly there needs to be some kind of solution and safe places for the homeless and troubled to go, but what's the idea setup for this kind of thing, and how do we make it happen? And what would these people actually like to have for their use? You can build it, but if they won't use it for one reason or another, you've just spent a boatload of money for nothing. I can also understand not wanting to stay in shelters given the crime, proximity to illness, etc., and it's also likely that some of the employed homeless (yes, they do exist; we all know how expensive housing is around here) are working the night shift and need somewhere to sleep during the day. How do we help them out? And then there are the people no one wants to deal with, who are arguing with other people/the demons in their heads, trying to fight, smelling godawful, nodding out on the T, etc. etc. etc. What would be most helpful for these people that would also make public transit more pleasant for everyone?

Right now all these people are on T property, because a lot of them just don't have anywhere else even marginally warm to go. There were a handful of people semi-regularly camped out on the platform at Davis for a while, although I haven't seen them since the new architecture went in, and I hope they're OK wherever they are. A lot of them will move back into the parks, gardens, and other wooded areas when the weather warms up, which then causes its own problems, but at least they aren't sleeping on the T. What do we need to do to help everyone--ordinary people and those with problems alike--live a decent life and make public transportation more pleasant? I don't have any answers, but surely there are people who have some ideas on what mind work...

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Read the comment you are replying to again. The original poster is saying the same thing as you.

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If not for hostile design what keeps the homeless out of stations. Certainly not the MBTA police at any rate I have seen.

My ride in this morning on the AM was lovely, 2 homeless people stretched out sleeping on the train. Maskless of course.

The city and state needs to help people. The T is not the home for that help.

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You're right, the T is not a solution to our homelessness crisis. We also don't have to make things even more difficult for people who are just looking for a place to rest that is sheltered from the elements and safer than many other alternatives.

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Yeah, because the low-middle class commuter just trying to scrape out a measly day pay should have to deal with that nonsense and affiliated lawlessness. The rich get to drive in and pay $30 a day to park. Of course that makes some middle folks choose to drive instead. Endangering pedestrians, congesting the city and reducing T ridership.

No. The only people that belong on the T are travelers. Hopefully the 2 MBTA residents I experienced this morning did not give me covid.

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And the cops can get bent.

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And by "this" I mean the ablest concern troll brats who are so quick to jump on and blame "hostile architecture" without considering how important little changes like this are for those of us who need it. These people may be well intended but this thoughtless action has just made my and many other's lives more difficult by removing these railings. This is inclusive architecture because it takes into consideration the needs of all who use those benches for their primary intended use, which is a necessary in many cases, place to sit while waiting for the train or bus. I have lived with MS for over ten years now and have good days and bad days. Some good days I can walk for miles, and some bad days I can't even get out of bed. I have many days in between, some of those days I can walk a moderate amount, and many days I can walk, but require frequent rests. If my legs, waist, and hips aren't agreeing with me, I need a stable assistive device beyond a cane or crutch, which I don't always have on me, and anyone who has tried to get up from a seat or bench using just a cane knows what I am talking about, there is a stability issue there. Before this year, bench railings were far and few, and a recent change in the code by the Massachusetts Architectural Accessibility Board has now mandated them due to years of activism in the handicapped community, and these brats are ruining all that work by those of us who are passionate about universal accessibility and are making life more difficult for those of who depend on these little changes. These are probably the same people who yelled at me when I was walking away after using my placard to park in a handicapped parking space a last year. Not all physical disabilities are visible to the naked eye. Shame on them!!!

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This isn't ableism and those dividers aren't there with the intention of helping anybody. They're not even ADA compliant:

To assist in transferring to the bench, consider providing grab bars on a wall adjacent to the bench, but not on the seat back. If provided, grab bars cannot obstruct transfer to the bench.

https://www.ada-compliance.com/ada-compliance/903-benches

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ADA is generally flexible and in this case the guidelines offer suggestions for best practices and are not requirements. The state regulatory agency, the MAAB tightens up those requirements and seeks input from the community. Those suggestions were considered in the benches on the T and in state parks, for example "If provided, grab bars cannot obstruct transfer to the bench.", that's why the bars are offset a full seat space, it's done to allow someone to transfer from an assistive device and onto the bench. I've transferred from a chair onto a bench and made good use of the bar to pull myself on securely. The bars were also very vital making it possible for me to get back onto my chair.

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A few Saturdays ago I am happy to report that a residentially challenged male was using the dividers as props at the Central Sq T for his belongings. All while not wearing a mask. He took up several spaces doing so. During a pandemic, this is a biological hazard for the entire community. Furthermore, elderly passengers and folks with temporary or permanent disabilities find these supports to be helpful.
I wish the individuals stealing the seat handles would work on cleaning the station, encouraging mask adherence, and creating a station that would be safe for all. Taking away supports for our elders is agist, disheartening, and misplaced anger. It would be great if the activists chose instead to target student loan companies, credit card companies, Amazon,and banks who are exploiting the pandemic to rake in the cash.

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A picture of the modified benches?

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... to double the number of benches in the T. Some with the barriers, to aid those who do use them for help sitting down and back up. Others without for those who find them counterproductive and an impediment to sitting or laying down.

I would like to see more benches everywhere. Public spaces are not just for those who can stand for long periods of time.

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