CITYWIDE — Bus stop haters, call off your dogs.
The Daily Press has received an outpouring of e-mails, letters, and phone calls in opposition to Big Blue Bus’ new stops. BBB officials say they’ve gotten a “fair amount” — but not an “outpouring” — of complaints. They might make some changes.
The project was approved by City Council in 2010 and installation of the new stops began recently. The total project costs $7 million, with 80 percent of that coming from federal grants.
The new, blue, space-age bus shelters have umbrella-like canopies set a distance from two small seats.
“I’m not sure what has happened to the old benches, but with proper care they could have been in service for years,” one resident wrote to the Daily Press.
“The grey benches were much more handicapped accessible than the silly blue stools that have no back support,” another reader said. “How did this wasteful and incredibly resource intensive project pass in our supposedly ‘green’ city? How can these blue stools be (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant?”
On Facebook a long thread about the shelters has popped up, calling them uncomfortable and ugly. The canopies, the users say, don’t provide shade.
On social media and through e-mail, BBB officials say they’ve also gotten some positive feedback.
The canopies, said BBB spokesperson Suja Lowenthal, are artistic and they do provide shade.
“It’s just not where the seats are sited throughout the bulk of the day,” she said. “The seats are installed where the shade falls at peak boarding periods.”
Several riders, Lowenthal said, have noted that the new seats are not easily usable for people with disabilities.
“In particular, the concern is the lack of armrests, which are used by persons with physical constraints to lift themselves out of a seated position,” she said. “The designers indicate that the short backrest can be used to assist customers to get up from the seat.”
The seats, Lowenthal said, are designed to allow riders to see the incoming buses.
“This design would not accommodate long-term use,” she said. “During lengthy wait times, it may not be the most comfortable.”
Given the customer feedback, Lowenthal said, BBB is looking into ways to improve the new stops. They could add more of the new-style seats, she said, or bring back the old benches.
“We are storing the old benches at BBB headquarters as they are being removed,” Lowenthal said.
BBB, she said, takes all of the complaints seriously.
“The concerns expressed are valid as style and design are very subjective areas,” she said. “The concerns about the functionality are also valid as customers are expressing their personal experiences with sitting and rising from the new seats. If a customer is accustomed to having armrests to assist with getting up from the seat, learning to the backrest is an adjustment.”
I honestly think the design has zero to do with function and all to do with keeping undesired populations from using the bus stops for other purposes. The so called canopies dont even sit close enough to the benches to provide shade or protection whether its from the sun or rain. The suggestion that the seats are designed to remove visual obstructions from seeing the buses is a joke. The previous benches were parallel to the street, anything obstructing your view will come from cars, trucks and such. Bring the old benches back!
I’m not against “artistic” designs per se, but can we just please have some function with our form? It is very uncomfortable to wait for the bus in the blasting sun, magnified by concrete, asphalt & brick – it makes every extra minute you wait for a bus that is not on time just that much more angry. Dear BBB – get a clue!
What a complete waste of money. Shameful. There are only 2 seats…seriously? How is this functional? How does an overweight person fit in that little round seat. There is no way that round thing provides meaningful shade. I think they are ridiculous. Honestly, do people really think these projects through before wasting MILLIONS of dollars??
I just came across this posting on LA Curbed that I found fairly informative. Seems like a cool idea to me!
I’m coming across this article – I actually think this looks like a cool and innovative design that will not only be a functioning shade structure but will finally be an interesting streetscape element. The real time schedule I think is a great addition for transit users to actually be able to manage getting places.
At what time of the year does the shade actually fall over the seat in peak boarding periods? Seriously? Did BBB forget that earth tilts?
$7M is real money. It doesn’t matter that 80% of it came from the federal government. That $5.6M should have gone for something necessary and practical for some city that needed it. Not to be wasted by SM BBB. Moreover, the BBB not making a profit is reported to be why we residents don’t have the free golf cart jitneys that have been available already for YEARS to take us on demand to the transit stops or to other places in town we need to go. If BBB wastes money like this, then we want our jitneys and we don’t care whether BBB makes a profit or not. Let them start managing their business properly–as this wasted $7M shows they are not doing–and then they will make a profit. They will change their business to do so, not just waste whatever money they can scam from some other level of government and from the public.
This is just too funny… My two favorite parts of the article are….1, “The canopies, said BBB spokesperson Suja Lowenthal, are artistic and they do provide shade.“It’s just not where the seats are sited throughout the bulk of the day,” she said. “The seats are installed where the shade falls at peak boarding periods.” Do they really expect us to think that tiny circle was intended to provide comfort and shade? 2. “The seats, Lowenthal said, are designed to allow riders to see the incoming buses.” Does she really think the Big Blue Bus is hard to spot on the street? Truth: the seats are designed so the homeless won’t use them to sleep on. They spent 7 million dollars of tax payer money on this ridiculous crap! I think i’ll go make a video at one of the bus stops today and try to use the tiny metal bar in the back to help me get up. If they install one more of these ridiculous things someone should be held accountable. I can’t believe or don’t want to believe our City Council Members knew this is what they voted to install. It’s the ultimate of incompetence and waste of our much needed resources.
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