Sunday, January 23, 2011

Santa Barbara Can't Help the Homeless, But They'll Turn the Benches Around so You Don't Have to Look at Them.

Using $50,000 in redevelopment funds, the city is planning to turn 14 benches perpendicular to the State Street storefronts they now face. The idea is to make it more difficult for beggars to establish contact with passersby, officials said.

"They'll be sitting with their backs to half the people coming and going on the sidewalk," said Marck Aguilar, a supervisor for the city's redevelopment agency. "They'll have half the potential contacts with the public. It might not be financially beneficial for them."

To discourage prolonged stays, Aguilar said, workers will also remove the backs from several benches on a two-block stretch of the city's most vibrant commercial thoroughfare. If the pilot program succeeds, it may be extended the length of the street, where crowds of students and well-heeled tourists from around the world amble into upscale stores and restaurants.'


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