Piss, dope, beggars & blow jobs: Welcome to the Lake Street Met Transit Station

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Riders hope Met Transit does something about the larger issues of public urination, vagrancy, prostitution, drugs, and alcohol.

Cheli Aguilar stepped off the bus at about 7:30 a.m. She'd ridden it from her Uptown home to the Lake Street/Midtown Station. Aguilar couldn't get away from the place fast enough.

It smelled like piss. Loitering was epidemic. Two people were asleep. About ten others badgered her for money, a couple of whom said "Fuck you!" when she refused. There wasn't a Metro Transit cop in sight.

"It was uncomfortable to be around these people," Aguilar says. "It was a lot of people who have nothing to do there."  

Metro Transit told riders via Facebook last week: "We've heard you loud and clear. Lake Street Station needs some serious TLC." According to the July 26 post, TLC amounts to elevator and escalator repairs in the station's north tower with "a total rehab" expected to begin sometime this fall.

Apparently, that's not the type of TLC for which the station is aching.

"Could you do something with the drunk people that hang out there?... They drink, pee, do drugs in front of kids," read Christian Lopez's response. 

John Gamez also asked, "Can we maybe take care of the smell problem?"

Fifty-five-year-old Thomas Conway uses the station daily. Conway has passed through here as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 4 a.m. He's been a patron for years.     

"If you stand here long enough, you're going to see something of everything," he says. "This is a pretty active place. It's a helluva joint here, I tell you."

Seeing so many grown men so frequently urinating in public and the stink trail they leave bothers Conway something fierce. So does the fact he never sees transit cops around the area.

Out of all the things he's witnessed at the station, one stands out.    

It was a weeknight "right before the liquor store closed," according to Conway. He was coming off Lake Street and approaching the station's north tower lobby to take the escalator. In the corner of the glass-encased room, Conway came upon a woman performing oral sex on a man, who had his back toward the middle of the lobby.

"Totally unfazed," recalls Conway. "Both of 'em. They didn't care that nobody was walking by."   

Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla says "the quality of life issues" are discussed regularly and high on the entity's priority list.

"We hear those things and take those things seriously," he says. "It's important for our riders to know we don't have a deaf ear or pay a blind eye."

As for what the upcoming "total rehab" involves in terms of safety and cleanliness, Padilla can't say. The details are still being finalized.   

 


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