If you frequent Kimball Junction, you may have noticed an increase in the number of panhandlers. Particularly interesting is the mom that sits on the way out of Smith’s parking lot with her three kids. Perhaps it’s just the summer, but it also seems the number of hitchhikers is up too.
There’s a different feel to what’s going on in KJ, this year.
I may be callous, but ever since I witnessed how the business of begging is done in Salt Lake, I don’t have as much compassion as perhaps I should. You can make a fine living by panhandling. I just don’t choose to participate in funding those “entrepreneurs” … but many do.
Yet, when you go by Pioneer Park in SLC, it is different. It’s not a job, it’s an unfortunate way of life. Pioneer Park is a hub of the downtrodden. It’s a little scary and sad. When I drive by I am reminded of how lucky I am. Many of the folks hanging out have no other place to go, are drug abusers, are homeless, and have a myriad of problems. It’s not a great place.
Ever since construction began on the Transit Center in Kimball Junction, I can’t help wonder if it may be our version of Pioneer Park. It will offer a “great” location, one that is close to I-80, nice covered benches, and an indoor facility that will be nice during those cold weather months.
This facility is the first of its kind in KJ. As a car driver and E-Bike enthusiast, I hope it encourages thousands of people to ride buses, so the roads are wide-open for me. However, what I really wonder is whether it will encourage an entire different type of people that weren’t contemplated when the transit center was planned.