New Bedford may add angled cobblestones to medians city-wide

By John Krinjak

Email: jkrinjak@abc6.com

Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — The New Bedford City Council Tuesday night gave the green light to a study to assess the cost of putting angled cobblestones–like the ones recently installed at Route 6 and Pleasant Street–in medians all over the city.

"I see no problem with it whatsoever. It deterred. I saw nobody standing there. I’ve been driving by it several times. There’s nobody there so apparently it worked. So I’m willing to do it throughout the city," said Councilor Naomi Carney. 

Councilor Brian Gomes, who asked for the study, says panhandlers pose a real danger–often attracting criminal activity.

"Throughout the city I have seen drug dealing taking place with these panhandlers on the corners," said Gomes. This is not the homeless. This is not the veteran. This is the drug user who is using our city and our roadways to collect money and use the people that continue to give them."

He’s suggesting high-traffic intersections like Coggeshall Street and 195, and Routes 6 and 140, be among those to get the spiked stones.

"I understand the anger, I understand the frustration, but that’s not the way to do it," said Councilor Maria Giesta.

Some members say the cobblestones are inhumane–doing further harm to an already at-risk population.

"You want to put them everywhere, then what happens? They’re forced onto the road and they’re forced into the neighborhood, which I don’t think is the right path. I think we should instead be looking at dealing with the underlying issues, such as poverty, substance abuse," said Dunn. 

But, as it turns out, some panhandlers may have already hacked the system.

"Somebody told me tonight that they had already seen a gentleman put out a wood plank on top of it to stand on it," said Giesta. You’re dealing with people that this is what they do, and they’ll find a way."

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018