By Bill Shields


ARLINGTON (CBS) – You’ve probably seen them before, small metal spikes, in rows on buildings and bridges. They’re commonly called bird spikes and are used to keep pigeons from congregating there. But seldom are they used to keep homeless people away.

“My first reaction was shock,” says Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine. “We felt there was an inhumane nature to the spikes and whether fencing or some other option could be considered in the future, I think we’re willing to discuss. But the spikes seemed to have a feeling of treating these people like animals that we just weren’t comfortable with.”

Spikes under bridge in Arlington (WBZ-TV)

MassDOT installed the bird spikes under a bridge that spans Route 2, right near the Alewife T Station.

People had been congregating there, right above a hike and bike trail that connects the T stop to Arlington. The trail goes under the bridge, but it wasn’t the homeless people who created some complaints from passersby.

Spikes under Arlington bridge (WBZ-TV)

“There was hypodermic needles, there was human waste, there was a colostomy bag found, a great deal of belongings and or debris,” said Chapdelaine.

MassDOT owns the bridge and removed the spikes on Monday, saying in part, “in order to develop a plan to reduce trespassing in the area, while assisting vulnerable populations and ensuring public health and safety.”

Bill Shields

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