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Spikes to deter homeless removed from under Route 2 bridge in Arlington

State workers on Monday removed metal spikes designed to discourage homeless people from sleeping under a Route 2 bridge after Arlington officials objected to them, officials said.

The bridge, which crosses the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway near the Alewife MBTA station, has long been a place where homeless people congregate, Arlington town officials said in a statement released Monday. About three or four people sleep there regularly during the winter, officials said.

The spikes were installed in December after town officials contacted the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which owns the bridge, about cleaning and removing trash from the area.

“Recently, sanitary and public safety conditions under the overpass became a concern for the community, with acts of violence reported and debris, human waste, and used needles appearing in large numbers,” town officials said.

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In response, the Transportation Department installed two rows of spiked “bird deterrence strips” under the bridge.

“Upon further discussions with officials from the town of Arlington, MassDOT has removed the measures under the Route 2 bridge,” MassDOT spokesman Patrick Marvin said Monday. “The department will continue to have conversations with the town, community members, and stakeholders in order to develop a plan to reduce trespassing in the area while assisting vulnerable populations and ensuring public health and safety.”

Arlington officials said they did not request the spikes. Transportation officials said they were intended to keep out trespassers.

“There is always more work to be done and new ideas to explore, but the bird strips that were placed underneath the overpass are not the solution we had in mind,” Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said in the statement.


Abigail Feldman can be reached at abigail.feldman@globe.com.