December 21, 2013
A general view of Union Station at the Amtrak National Train Day at Union Station on May 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The homeless are being pushed out of Union Station
under a program that limits seats in the downtown transportation hub to
ticketed train passengers.
The Los Angeles Times reports the
county Metropolitan Transportation Authority began the crackdown Dec. 9
as the agency embarks on a major renovation of the historic structure.
officials said about 135 homeless people were staying in the terminal
per night last summer and passengers were complaining of transients
occupying bathrooms, sprawling across seats and panhandling.
The agency tried closing the station in the wee hours for
thorough cleaning but bedbugs, scabies and other unsanitary conditions
persisted, said Ken Pratt, who oversees property management of the
“We saw people removing insects from themselves and dropping them on chairs next to them,” Pratt said.
Critics said the move blocks public access to one of the city’s most elegant
building and pushes people with nowhere else to go out into the cold.
The 1939 structure, with its distinctive blend of Spanish revival and
Streamline Moderne touches, is on the National Register of Historic
“Los Angeles is not going to solve this problem by going
halfway,” said Don Petrosky Garza, who claimed Union Station security
guards rousted him when he tried to sit down with a sandwich. “They
don’t accomplish much of anything except to make it look pretty.”
workers from the L.A. County Housing Services Authority have been
visiting the station to get the homeless people to shelters and other