Look at What One Massachusetts City Did to Curb Panhandling, Could This Work in Pittsfield?
Panhandling has been quite the topic of conversation in Pittsfield as of late.
I've lived in Pittsfield for 18 years and while panhandling doesn't bother me nearly as much as it does some other people, it's something that was basically nonexistent here two years ago.
On a regular basis, I see panhandlers at Park Square, the intersection in Allendale, the exit of the Berkshire Crossing shopping plaza, and the exit of the Center at Lenox. This is something that has definitely become more prevalent in recent years.
The actual act of panhandling doesn't really bother me (sorry, unpopular opinion, I know) but this isn't a debate about the morality of panhandling, it's tackling it happening in locations that are dangerous to them and others. I do get nervous at busy intersections, like Allendale for example, for these safety reasons. It seems like an accident waiting to happen that could cause serious injury if not worse.
So is there a solution to this problem? Take a look at what the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts did to try and curb panhandling in their area.
In 2018 "spiked" cobblestones were installed at a busy intersection with the purpose of discouraging panhandlers, however, the original cobblestones were installed in a way that folks were still able to stand on them. Earlier this week the cobblestones were removed and reinstalled with the tall side sticking up, spaced further apart, making it far more difficult to stand or walk on them.
Would this type of median modification work in Pittsfield? Obviously, this would not be an option at Park Square as that is a sidewalk where people walk all the time, but I think this could be a viable option on the medians in Allendale at least, if not at the entrances to the shopping plazas.
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