Bus benches in problem areas being replaced

The area that starts near Castañeda’s Mexican Food on Indian Canyon Drive and continues down South Palm Canyon Drive has seen endless reports of drug use, petty thefts, and vandalism.
The usual flat bench outside this Starbucks off South Palm Canyon Drive has been replaced with an angled bench to offer leaning but not laying or sitting.

SunLine Transit Agency has joined in the effort to combat unwanted users of its bus stops in one section of Palm Springs, but at what cost to passengers?

At issue: A two-mile stretch of roadway in South Palm Springs has been at the epicenter of issues for police, business owners, and others. The area that starts near Castañeda’s Mexican Food on Indian Canyon Drive and continues down South Palm Canyon Drive has seen endless reports of drug use, petty thefts, and vandalism.

  • Police have conducted sweeps in the area and business owners have hired security companies to discourage drug users and those committing crimes from gathering in the area or entering their businesses. To date, however, the solutions have only been temporary.

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Flash forward: In recent weeks, SunLine has tried to help the situation by replacing flat benches with slanted ones. So far, a pair of the slanted benches have popped up outside Starbucks and KFC, two areas known to have frequent issues.

  • Has it helped? Yes and no, according to Palm Springs police. While squatters have stopped camping out in the bus shelters, riders waiting for their bus to arrive have also been inconvenienced.

     
  • “What we’re running into is people who can’t use the benches,” Palm Springs Police Department Sgt. Frank Guarino said Tuesday. “It’s especially bad for the elderly and people with disabilities.”

Next up: Guarino said the bus stop outside Castañeda’s should be next in line for a slanted bench. In the meantime, police continue to work with business owners to deploy “outside the box” methods to solve the issue.

  • This week, PSPD personnel plan to meet with business owners in the area near Walmart off Ramon Road, another known hotspot for illegal activity.

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