To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Saturday, December 21, 2013

MTA bans homeless from Union Station in Los Angeles


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.

MTA 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 station.

“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 Places.

“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.”

Outreach workers from the L.A. County Housing Services Authority have been visiting the station to get the homeless people to shelters and other services.