Spiked Cobblestones Discourage Panhandling [OPINION]
Kudos to the Mitchell Administration for taking steps to deter panhandling at some of the city's busiest intersections. The practice has been protected by some liberal federal judges, and has allowed for a blight on the land from coast to coast.
Building off of its success at the octopus intersection in the downtown area, the administration has installed the so-called "spiked cobblestones" at other locations where beggars have been known to gather, including Cove Road, and now, the coveted Coggeshall Street entrance to the Market Basket plaza.
Some heads on the City Council exploded when the "medieval" tactic was first employed at the octopus, with several members accusing the administration of attempting to hurt people. Bull!
Busy intersections and median strips are no place for the often drug and/or alcohol-induced panhandlers to be plying their trade. It is dangerous for them and for motorists as well. Others have found government-sanctioned begging as a way to make a tax free income, and they have been known to harass motorists as they wait for traffic lights to change.
There is no guarantee the new cobblestones will keep the beggars away, but it will sure make it more difficult for them. Mayoral Aide Jon Carvalho tells me there is no penalty for panhandling on the "raised" cobblestones, but they are "designed to discourage any kind of walking, crossing or standing" at the median strip.
They are certainly more attractive than the Jersey barriers and orange construction barrels that were there previously.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.