Monday, July 28, 2014

BART's new 'stretching out' on street ban is GREAT! Let me tell you why!

BART police is now banning sleeping, stretching out at the Powell Station during the day and I think it's quite a smart move.  No, it's not because I can't stand the smell of homeless and their wastes, really, it's not that!  The reason I think the ban is needed is because of safety.  There are different types of safety violations when you have a homeless person sleeping at every corner, or sometimes, just in the middle of the street or walkway.

Safety violation #1: I've seen homeless people sleep at the top of stairs and escalators, causing people to trip at the top of the escalators because suddenly, 2 rows of people need to hop over a homeless man wrapped in a thick blanket.  He left 5 inches of clearance for everyone to somehow squeeze through.  And homeless at the top of the stairs is not much better although you do have more time to walk over them at your own pace, versus an escalator.

Safety violation #2: The human waste problem at any of the downtown stations is getting out of hand.  Flowing urine greets me daily, and there's now more feces than 6 months ago too.  The homeless sleeps in one spot and then turns to the nearest corner (sometimes not) to relief themselves.  It's unhealthy.

Safety violation #3: The weather has been too nice and the laying out issue has magnified because of it.  They are warm, happy, topless, and high.  There's also shopping carts everywhere along with plastic bags full of things.  It's like walking through an obstacle course.  You step on something, you get yelled at, viciously.

Safety violation #4: Well, this would just be the folks who are mentally ill and scream at you as you walk by them.  They lay out, they people watch, they comment on what you wear, what you look like, and sometimes even what they want to do to you.  It's verbal assault.  

I'm not against the homeless taking shelter at the stations.  I enjoy the energy and positivity of some homeless performers-- it's very refreshing and it's such a healthy attitude to have.  I take time to listen, drop a dollar, and say hi.  But the stretching out ban targets another type and I think it's a step in the right direction for our safety!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcomed back by the smell of urine at Montgomery

I've been on maternity leave for about 4 months and returned to work this week. One of the best things about being on leave is that I have not touched or smelled BART the entire time.  So far, BART has been fairly on time with no medical emergencies, train door issues, technical problems, etc, and even the trains have been kept fairly clean!  Well, that is until I stepped out of the train and onto the steps of the Montgomery station.

POOF!  The overpowering scent of urine welcomed me back to work! I read on SFGate that the city is cutting back on water use, therefore, decreasing street cleaning efforts in early mornings.  I am feeling (I mean, smelling) the impact of that policy but heck, we need to conserve water right??  Suddenly it seemed very very real-- I am back to the grind and back to holding my breath for 30 seconds until I get into my building!  Thank goodness I work just steps away from the station!!