A new plan has been proposed to install showers and bathrooms at or near some of its 93 train stations in order to help promote hygiene and stop the spread of infectious diseases in Los Angeles' growing homeless population.
Metro's Board of Directors approved the motion on Thursday that called for a detailed plan of action on how they might go about this. Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Hilda Solis says homeless people are already using train stations as toilets.
"There are people who are already living in these certain places that are impacting our local communities," Solis said. "It's about a humanitarian issue in my opinion. Because we do have a very diverse population that uses our rail and bus services at our hubs."
However, critics like Inglewood mayor and Metro board member James Butts say he believes the homeless using those showers might chase off regular commuters.
"I'm concerned that without careful thought, we'll impact the main business that we're in," Butts said. "And the main business that we’re in is to increase ridership. Showers should be where the people who will use them are, as oppose to having the expectation that people are going to come to a Metro station and use the shower before they ride the trains. I don’t think that’s realistic.”
The plan calls for an initial test station at the North Hollywood and Westlake/MacArthur Park stations - a final plan with more details is due in four months.
Metro's motion comes as the Los Angeles metro area struggles to deal with its growing homeless problem. Los Angeles county bears the bulk of the homeless population in the Golden State, which is the second largest in the nation.
A recent study showed that anywhere between 2,600 and 5,200 individuals fall into persistent homelessness every year.
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