Think Jon Mitchell has big stones? New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's are even bigger. Much bigger.

Several members of the New Bedford City Council and a member of the local legislative delegation went bonkers recently, when Mayor Jon Mitchell ordered the installation of what his critics call "spiked cobblestones," along the center median strip on Route 6 near the "octopus" intersection. The cobblestones are designed to convince panhandlers to stay off the highway.

Contributed Photo
Contributed Photo

Branded as "inhumane" and "malicious" by Councillors Dunn, Abreu and Giesta and "stupid" and "thoughtless" by Senator Montigny, the "medieval architecture" appears to be quite popular with residents. In fact, the City Council has agreed to study adding them at other locations made dangerous by the beggars.

Turns out that New Bedford is not alone in using what Montigny referred to as a "silly" approach to the problem, and the Councillors called "demoralizing, "crude" and "designed to hurt people."

Beacon & Park Streets, Boston (David Kane Photo Used With Permission)
Beacon & Park Streets, Boston (David Kane Photo Used With Permission

As we posted earlier in the week, Boston has installed cobblestones at Park and Beacon Streets to discourage panhandling, and now we learn that other locations such as Queens, New York--the "Big Apple's" second-largest borough--is also rockin' it.

While Boston's stones are big, New Bedford's are bigger. However, Queens has the largest rocks we've seen to date.

While we wait for the courts to decide whether banning or restricting public panhandling is constitutional, communities from coast to coast are doing what they can to keep motorists and panhandlers safe in the meantime. It's nice to see that New Bedford is on the cutting edge.

Rock on New Bedford!

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 and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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