The Berkeley City Council passed a series of measures early Wednesday morning to address issues raised by the homeless population, including a new rule that will limit the amount of space on which people can spread their stuff on the sidewalk.
Under the new law -- which won’t go into effect immediately -- people on sidewalks or plazas will have to confine their belongings to a 2’-by-2’ area between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. This does not include cushions or dogs.
To make this work, the council pledged to provide convenient and secure storage lockers in which homeless people can store their possessions. The new rules will kick in only after the city installs the lockers. Berkeley has not yet determined where the lockers might go and how many there will be, although there will be 50 to 100 to start.
The new laws also ban urinating and defecating in public and lying in, or on, the rims of planters. People with shopping carts will be allowed to leave them in one place only for an hour at a time, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m, among other regulations. The new laws are estimated to cost about $300,000 a year to implement. The council has not yet indicated from where the funds will come.